Billy Elliot is a heart-warming tale that brings out sadness, anger and laughter captivating the viewer throughout the whole film. There is an obvious musical, comedy and drama theme, as seen in The Full Monty and East is East, this makes it fun to watch and appealing to all ages. The poster used to promote the film is successful in setting the story, targeting all audiences while making it seem interesting. Jamie Bell plays Billy, a fiery, emotional and possibly confused character who is still grieving over the tragic death of his mother. The director, Stephen Daldry, was definitely looking for a 'raw talent' to play this diverse and intriguing young boy; seeing as Jamie had little acting experience and no dancing knowledge, he must have seemed perfect to play the role. All of the actors live up to expectations, especially Julie Walters who comes from the other end of the spectrum, being very popular and with years of experience. She fits into her character's personality instantly because she plays many 'motherly' roles, such as Molly Weasley in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince and Aunt Betsy Trotwood in David Copperfield. Daldry seems to enjoy producing or directing films in the drama genre, he directed The Reader and another short film Eight, which features the same kind of journey Billy Elliot undertakes; having to cope with the loss of a parent and discovering a new interest that changes their life. As well as this, Billy is constantly in disagreement with his father who deals with his grief in an extremely aggressive way. He is also involved in the miner's strike that severely affected the family's income and interferes with Billy's aspirations. The saddening situations make the viewer sympathise with Billy, and to a certain extent; his family.
Brian Tufano and his crew are very talented in deciding what camera angles and type of shots to use in certain scenes. For example; being able to portray emotions through angles of the camera and make a scene look better on camera than it does when filming. This is also enhanced by editing techniques used by John Wilson and the editorial team. They provide a gentle transition from one scene to another without losing the storyline and in some parts, the mood of particular scenes change so rapidly, the viewer is taken aback. Without editing, this film would not have been achieved to such a high standard and would not have been as successful in emphasising emotions and events. The colour also compliments the film and the period, with nothing too bright and the interiors of the houses typical to the 1980's with patterned wallpaper and frosted glass. Stephen Warbeck uses T.Rex's catchy 'I Love to Boogie' to begin the film. Other artists such as Stephen Gately, Eagle-Eye Cherry, The Clash, The Jam and The Style Council also feature in the film. Most of the sounds are diegetic, which enables the film to be more realistic to the audience; however, the few non-diegetic parts do not detract from the scenes. Set in the mid 1980's in a small estate with all families on a similar income, it reminds the people aged between the ages of 30 and 40 who may have experienced the affects of the minor strike had on the community. While appealing to the older audience, the story still interests teenagers, especially the youths who enjoy dance. There is a comical aspect to this film, for example, when Billy is attempting a 'pirouette' in the bathroom (to make sure his father doesn't find out about the ballet lessons) but fails miserably falling in the bath and soaking himself. In addition, Billy's friend, Michael Caffrey played by Stuart Wells, is discovered by Billy to be dressed up in his sister's clothes and putting make-up on, obviously hinting at his homosexuality. Billy is encouraged to attend boxing sessions by his father who had been taught that he needed to be masculine to get somewhere in the world, but this is something that Billy doesn't want to pursue. Julie Walters plays Mrs Wilkinson, an average but troubled ballet teacher who persuades Billy to join a class, something that Billy knew his father would be fuming about. Walter's character seems to be disappointed in herself for not being good enough to make a successful career in ballet, so she tries to channel that frustration through to her female students that simply don't have that spark of talent. However, Billy Elliot does show an indescribable something that she knows could take him to a future that she hoped for, but only with the right training. Because of this, she provides the role of a mother as well as a coach for Billy; this automatically makes the viewer have a respected opinion of her. All the characters, especially Julie Walters, perfected the language and accent that is needed to professionalise the film. This would have proved difficult to some who have had no experience of speaking in a Northeastern accent because it is such a vital aspect. Jamie Bell was at an advantage because he came from a similar area and already had the blunt and sometimes comic accent. However, it may be difficult for people who do not recognise this style of speech and they may not be able to relate to the film as well as people who are familiar with it. Despite some minor errors, the film was loved by the public, and praised by the critics. It shows that being a dancer is more difficult than first expected, and is in some ways deemed to be similar to the physically exhausting mining job his father does. In my opinion, Billy Elliot is an extremely successful film and many feel that it is 'the best British movie for years'.
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