County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony, take a dim view of 11 year-old second son Billy'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, encourages Billy's desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, 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
The only film that year to be Oscar nominated for Best Director, but not Best Picture. See more »
In the mobile library scene, several book spines are clearly visible, revealing titles published well after the 1984 setting of the film:
Lisa Appignanesi wrote 'Memory and Desire' in 1991, Barbara Taylor Bradford wrote 'Hold the Dream' in 1985, and 'Shirlee Busbee' wrote 'This Spanish Rose', 1986. See more »
My hands are freezing.
[Michael takes his hands and puts them in his jacket]
What are you doing?
Nothin'. Just warmin' your hands up.
You're not a poof or owt?
What gave you that impression?
Aren't me hands cold?
I quite like it.
[kisses Billy on the cheek; they stare at each other]
Just because I like ballet, doesn't mean I'm a poof, you know.
[...] See more »
An edited version was released in the USA rated PG-13 that tones down the language. See more »
With a seemingly run-of-the-mill storyline - that of an 11-year-old schoolboy wanting to be a ballet dancer - it is quite a feat to have made a movie as warm and entertaining as this.
Quite simply, this is the best British movie in years. All the characters are intriguing, and the acting is flawless, most notably from 14-year-old Jamie Bell whose acting is utterly convincing, filled with humour and insight beyond his years. He is also a fantastic dancer, and some of the dance sequences are reminiscent of the dance-filled musicals of the old black and white movies.
The backdrop of the historic miners' strike of the mid-1980s, it brings the story down to the earth and adds the necessary tension to make this film truly believable and a worthy story to tell.
I find it hard to see how anyone would not like this film. 9 and a half out of 10.
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