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
Jamie Bell was going through puberty at the time of filming. Some of his dialog had to be post-synched as his voice had broken. And the opening scene in which he jumps up and down on a bed to T. Rex's "Cosmic Dancer" was shot over a lengthy period of time. For the latter takes, Bell had acquired hair on his legs and had to have them shaved. 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 »
You're a ballet dancer, then let's be havin' it!
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An edited version was released in the USA rated PG-13 that tones down the language. See more »
I went into this movie expecting to hate it, and found myself instantly smiling at the playful opening credits with Billy jumping on a trampoline. From there on it just got better and better. The wasn't even a minor character that I could say needed work. The cast as a whole was brilliant - and surprising at times. The father and brother come off as these one-sided brutal characters in the beginning and then as you watch, they become two of the most well constructed and acted characters this year and for who knows how long. Jaime Bell is brilliant for a first-timer and his dance is wonderful. There are also so many layers to the film. From brilliant cinematography to wonderful symbolism both in the script and in the music (listen for the tune Billy is playing on piano in the main score during the big moments). The music on a whole was brilliantly picked and I don't think a single element was overlooked or addressed. If you haven't seen this movie - GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND INTO THE THEATER! It is truly an experience that everyone should have and I hope to see more from this writer, director and a brilliant new face in Jaime Bell.
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