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Overall Rating
4.15

Awesome51.91%
Worth A Look: 25.95%
Just Average: 10.69%
Pretty Crappy: 7.63%
Sucks: 3.82%

9 reviews, 77 user ratings


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Billy Elliot
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by EricDSnider

"Infectious, but the good kind of infectious."
5 stars

In the sweetly inspiring British film "Billy Elliot," the title character (played endearingly by Jamie Bell) is a normal 11-year-old lad with one peculiarity: He wants to be a ballet dancer.

Not so odd, maybe, except that he lives in a North East England mining town, where everyone is currently (the film is set in 1984) on strike. His dad (Gary Lewis) and older brother Tony (Jamie Draven), both grumpy and out of work, forbid such "poof" nonsense; besides, ballet lessons cost money. Still, Billy knows his dear, departed mum would have wanted him to do whatever made him happy.

Under the guidance of the strict, chain-smoking dance instructor Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters), Billy secretly takes lessons and progresses so much that Wilkinson wants him to audition for the Royal Ballet School. Dad and Tony of course have a change of heart, and there's a monstrously happy ending.

Jamie Bell is an extraordinary talent, both as a dancer and as an actor. His Billy is a vulnerable, lonely boy, taking care of his senile grandmother (Jean Heywood) and going to school while occasionally flashing a goofily handsome smile that will win Bell many movie roles when he gets older.

The film's unabashed ebulliance comes largely from the dance scenes, though. Billy's style is a combination of classical techniques and modern "Flashdance"-type stuff, and it makes for some highly enjoyable viewing, even if watching a dancer isn't normally your idea of a good time. Billy dances out of happiness, frustration and sadness, and each time his feelings are clear in his movement. Though his attraction to ballet is, for him, ineffable, it's easily understood to the audience: Put simply, dancing makes him feel good. Defeated and crushed by his dad's unsupportive attitude, he starts tapping his feet anxiously, nervously, eventually building to an all-out high-energy dance number. A little unrealistic, maybe, but powerfully effective as a symbol for Billy's potentially unattainable desires.

Gary Lewis delivers a fine performance, too, as Billy's dad. His change in attitude seems disappointingly out of left field at first -- until an emotionally climactic scene in which he attempts to cross the picket line and earn the money necessary to send Billy to the Royal Ballet School. His breaking down in his other son's arms, much like the wordless dance scenes, conveys a great deal without a lot of dialogue.

Director Stephen Daldry, working from Lee Hall's screenplay, keeps the mood whimsical and the working-class humor fresh. Is the family drama aspect a little cheesy? Some are saying yes, but I disagree. To me the film seems perfectly honest and genuine, and I'm glad to call it one of the best films of the year.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4464&reviewer=247
originally posted: 06/30/03 03:25:52
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User Comments

2/04/09 Anonymous. the most charming movie i've ever seen, i loved it :] 5 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Hard to understand the heavy accents sometimes, but makes anyone want to get up and dance. 5 stars
5/31/08 David Cohen Cliched tripe without a single likeable character 2 stars
8/14/07 Hello Stranger predictable but awwwwww so great to watch 4 stars
1/25/07 Shanaynay Great characters and very heartwarming and inspirational 5 stars
1/19/07 Davo Brilliant flim, Jamie Bell Superb Actor, can watch it time and time again 5 stars
12/31/06 A The best thing ever. You should also see the musical. AMAZING!!! 5 stars
9/16/06 james fabulous and now that i'm starring in the new musical as billy, it is an inspiration. 5 stars
7/23/06 Daveman A resident of County Durham, I can tesify we do NOT talk like that and we are NOT that poor 2 stars
4/01/06 Riki Who is that kid?! 5 stars
8/18/05 boogy man do you want to see my fanny? hahahaha i have to do it 4 yr 10 baa boooring 1 stars
7/22/05 Captain Craig A WOW..onderful film. Left me wanting more! 5 stars
7/14/05 Rabbi Ledinski I have to study this stupid movie for year 12, it used to be cool, but i'm bored of it. 1 stars
7/06/05 muhammad ehsan it is superbly boring 1 stars
6/03/05 anon amazing film-really good! 5 stars
5/16/05 Litty I loved it but not as much as I love Mcleods Daughters 4 stars
5/09/05 Samantha I think it was pretty, daun good 5 stars
4/20/05 Georgina Definately has entered my list of favourites 5 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig A really wonder story, well done and quite original 5 stars
1/29/05 movie boi :) gr8 drama :( 5 stars
10/29/04 Elaine Pang Good enough to make my friend cry. bad enough to make another sleep. Could be done better. 1 stars
10/27/04 Kristen I dug it !!! 5 stars
9/26/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 The gold standard for movies about aspiring dancers living in squalor 5 stars
4/01/04 Paola Great Film Highly Recomended 5 stars
2/13/04 Jose O. Isidro Billy Elliot will always be my number one movie. 5 stars
2/10/04 teri reilly fantastic 5 stars
2/01/04 john bale Simple heartwarming stories sometimes make great cinema, this is one such. 5 stars
9/14/03 J I have seen this movie hundreds of times and it is still the best movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
5/27/03 Jessica I LOVE BILLY ELLIOT! 5 stars
4/29/03 rik i dont trust any critic who doesnt think this is great, because it is! 5 stars
3/05/03 Dina Smith I saw this in school and I tought it was wonderful 4 stars
11/15/02 Big Ted Great film. Very underrated work from Gary Lewis. 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Wonderful film...just wish it had subtitles. 5 stars
10/01/01 alf awful tawdry take on english northern life and why were t rex featured in 1984? 2 stars
9/10/01 Malin hln I love the scen when Michael kisses Billy! Its so sweet! And Stuart Wells is very cute!!!! 5 stars
9/06/01 Bada Bing Crosby I can't imagine the soul of the person who thinks this is crap 5 stars
8/17/01 Dana loved it!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/12/01 KCobain Very inspirational. Jamie Bell was terrific. Dance scenes were dazzling. 5 stars
7/27/01 Henry Ginsberg This is not the greatest British film of all time . 4 stars
7/23/01 Pia Wesley Really good movie based on true situations of males being homaphobic. 5 stars
7/09/01 Monday Morning Just like Billy Jack except with dancing instead of head-kicking. Seriously, 'twas lame. 3 stars
6/23/01 Onyx Wonderful story. Enjoyed it. The ending was beautiful. 4 stars
6/13/01 Courtney THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE AND IT ALWAYS WILL BE! I LUV JAMIE BELL 5 stars
6/08/01 Girl 9 NO BILLY NO! Everything about this film has been overrated, from the story to the actors. 2 stars
5/17/01 nowak The reviewer for iF Magazine is simply pathetic. 5 stars
5/13/01 Dave Truly a piece of "shite" 1 stars
5/12/01 Emilio Touching, funny, an excellent film! 5 stars
5/04/01 Bada Bing Crosby The only movie I could see myself watching on a daily basis 5 stars
5/02/01 Antonio Excelent!! The best film year!! 5 stars
4/26/01 Twang Kern Zern If I never see another movie in my life, I'll die happy because I've watched Billy Elliot. 5 stars
4/09/01 ChErRyRiPe A touching story that makes us believe all our dreams can come true no matter how difficult 4 stars
4/07/01 Hawkeye A great film- if the acting doesn't stick with you, the soundtrack will. Go see it! 5 stars
4/02/01 Lisa Great Movie. A must see! 5 stars
3/31/01 BILL BUSTER BEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN IN 10 YEARS! 5 stars
3/20/01 Jeferdi MAGNIFICA 5 stars
3/16/01 Steve Wright Wonderful example of talent transcending barriers 5 stars
3/03/01 Suzz loved it 5 stars
2/05/01 Rob One of the best movies ever made 5 stars
1/24/01 Elvisfan If you don't like this, check your pulse, you might be dead 5 stars
1/17/01 Dan Rich I really enjoyed this movie. The contrasts between ballet and violence were very astute. 4 stars
12/18/00 Mic Though cliched, those who think this movie is gay, do yourself a favour and watch it 4 stars
12/07/00 Matthew Bartley Go, Billy, go! 5 stars
12/04/00 A GREAT FILM 5 stars
11/27/00 pipeman Great little flick. 5 stars
11/14/00 basilsmom wondeful, warm and touching Jamie Bell is super 4 stars
11/13/00 Flare28 This was one of the best films of the year! 5 stars
11/13/00 Maureen Inspired me to pursue my talent. I loved this movie! Bought the soundtrack. 5 stars
11/12/00 D Pedersen Aw... how sweet 5 stars
11/09/00 spork-girl you are all just gay-dancing bashing 5 stars
11/06/00 Heather Heartwarming little movie, loved the ending and the T-REX soundtrack 5 stars
11/05/00 Sall S I hardly ever say this with confidence but this movie is a must see! Amazing. 5 stars
10/29/00 neil bartlett heart in the right place. Some inappropriate music & costuming for 198 3 . Take some tissue 4 stars
10/27/00 Rich Knock it all you want, Greg and Oz, I thought it was a great little movie. 5 stars
10/23/00 Daniel Marcusso One of the most wonderful and touching portraits of the childhood I've ever seen. 5 stars
10/21/00 Gonzo Film of the year 5 stars
10/18/00 Klute Pleasant enough, but no life-changer. 3 stars
10/10/00 John JR Absolutely brilliant - tear-jerking, Billy is amazing 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Nov-2000 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Nov-2000 (M)


Directed by
  Stephen Daldry

Written by
  Lee Hall

Cast
  Julie Walters
  Jamie Bell
  Jamie Draven
  Gary Lewis
  Jean Heywood
  Stuart Wells



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