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
Large parts of the mining village of Easington Colliery, where most of the filming took place, were demolished shortly after the movie was finished, including the house which stood in as Billy's home and the entire surrounding street. See more »
The punch-bag in the dimly lit shot of the gymnasium when Mrs Wilkinson is talking to Billy is moving in one shot (at around 39 mins), then stationary in the next (00:39:21), then moving again (00:40:20). See more »
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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