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Film review

Film Review – Billy Elliot

Director: Stephen Daldry
Genre: Drama
Release year: 2000


Jamie Bell AKA Billy Elliot
Gary Lewis AKA Jackie Elliot
Julie Walters AKA Mrs Wilkinson


The film is about the tiny eleven-year-old boy Billy Elliot. The mother in his family passed away some time ago. His father Jackie has in his sorrow become mean and bitter.
In the year of 1984 the miners in Durham strike. Billy’s father and brother are involved in it. The ones who still go to the mine are hated and called SCAB by the strikers.
Since Billy’s grandfather and father did boxing Jackie expects him to box too. But Billy doesn’t like boxing and he’s not that good in it either.
Then one day he discovers that some girls were practising ballet just next to the boxing hall. Billy loves what he sees and decides to join the ballet class instead of the boxing. But that is a secret for his family, as they say, “lads don’t do ballet”. His ballet teacher Mrs Wilkinson soon realises that Billy could get very good at ballet and starts to give him private lessons. She proposes that he should apply to study at the Royal Ballet School in London. But for that, he will need his father’s goodwill.
Twice Jackie caught Billy dancing, he was very angry the first time and forbade him to dance more. The second time Billy stands up against his father and dances for him. When Jackie saw Billy dance he knew he couldn’t keep him from it. He also found he enjoyed it and he became very touched. He realises his son is very talented. Billy tells Jackie about the Royal ballet school and that he needs money to get there. Then Jackie decides that he and the brother Tony would help Billy to get the money. They both go to the mine even if they don’t want to, as they are on strike. In these times Billy has some up and downs with his feelings about what he is going to do.
Finally he actually goes to the audition. The dancing was all right, but he felt troubled there and couldn’t almost get out a word when the jury gave him some questions. But when he was asked the question “How do you feel when you are dancing?” he says some words that really made an impact on the jury.
Then a time of uncertainty begins. When the letter arrives the whole family is tense. The opening of the letter is very outdrawn and when Billy sees that he got in, he starts to cry. The film ends with Jackie and Tony travelling five years later to London to see Billy starring in a ballet show. Which means it all went very well.

Description of characters

A good actor plays Billy Elliot. His persona is kind, caring and spontaneous. His life isn’t easy in the beginning of the movie. He misses his mother and he doesn’t have a good contact with his father. I think he has mixed feeling about his father.
People around him have all those expectations of him. He feels that he doesn’t fit in anywhere. He’s pretty miserable until he finds the ballet.
Of course I like him, he’s like an angel.

Jackie is very severe and not loving or happy. I think it’s because he mourns the loss of his wife. As a single father with two sons he should be more open with them, talk, joke and take care of them. He doesn’t want his sons to end up in the mine as he did. He works very hard to give his family a better future.
I feel sad for him because he kind of lost his heart when his wife died.

Mrs Wilkinson is a good example of a person who gives “tough love”, which means she is very nice but also accurate and severe. She wants to get out the best of Billy’s ballet and that means she has to push him hard. But in the bottom it’s pure love. I like her because she is not shy at all and says what she wants. But most of all I like that she is an independent widow.

My opinion of the film

This film didn’t catch my attention in the beginning. I don’t know why but I had a hard time to concentrate on it. It just felt weird and boring. The story is very pale and simple. I guess it is supposed to be cute but I’m not into the cute movies. I want to become hit by it. The environment in the movie is very boring and “grey”. I think that’s why it doesn’t feel well made for me. It feels ridiculous sometimes, it so fake. I have to say that the end is very abrupt and strange and that it made me disappointed.
It’s hard for me to find anything positive about this movie; it’s so different from what I like. Maybe a younger child would be more amused of it. I can’t believe it’s so celebrated. I get the movie by idea and it’s great even though maybe not that exiting.

Message in the film

There are a lot of messages in this film but those don’t touch me. I think they are all pale.
I happen to know the real message in it. It is that everyone has got a talent but the trick is to find it. Keywords for me to describe what it brings up is friendship, poverty, motherless, follow your dreams, never give up and a little bit of homosexuality, even if I don’t get that part.

Isabella Selin Norén

Film review, 2.3 out of 5 based on 3 ratings
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