County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Margaret Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot (Gary Lewis) and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony (Jamie Draven), take a dim view of eleven-year-old second son Billy's (Jamie Bell's) poor record in boxing class, which worsens when they discover he sneakily transferred to the neighboring, otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael Caffrey (Stuart Wells), encourages Billy's desire, aroused by the teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson (Dame Julie Walters), who judged him talented enough for private lessons, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Only the prospect of a fancy career unimagined in the pauper quarter may twist pa and big brother's opposition to indispensable support.Written by
Lee Hall completed his first draft in 3 weeks. See more »
When the dance teacher goes into Billy's house to confront his family about the audition at the Royal Ballet School, you can hear 'Tellytubbies', a daytime children's programme on the TV in the background. 'Tellytubbies' was first aired in 1997, some 13 years after when the film was set. See more »
Ride A White Swan
Words and Music by Marc Bolan
Performed by T. Rex
Courtesy of Straight Ahead Productions Limited See more »
From Ugly Ducking to Beautiful Swan
Billy Elliot is a truly inspirational movie. It reminds us of the human potential to transcend our economic surroundings and the expectations of society by doing something so simple, and yet sometimes so very difficult, as simply being ourselves.
Born in a socially and economically repressed mining town, Billy is told that boys box or wrestle; boys don't dance. But Billy loves to dance and does so every chance that he gets.
Does a love of ballet make you gay? Does it matter if your best friend is a crossdresser? How far will a father go when he realizes the truth about his son? This is a movie of change, growth and emotion, with characters and actors so real and fully developed that they pull your heart forth and place it firmly upon the screen. We literally feel the brittleness of judgement, the despair of lost hope, and the joy of acceptance.
It is easy to see why this small British film has won so many foreign awards and nominations, and I only hope it will be given the chance it deserves to inspire and transform US audiences as well.
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