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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent moive, good music and extradionary dancing.
I can't say enough about Billy Elliot. The boy who plays Billy ( Jamie Bell) started ballet dancing when he was 6, this film is his debut. He's 13 now and by the looks of his leg muscles he's been working out hard. The film has an excellent sound track and another surprise boy whom loves Billy.
You'll love Billy Elliot, it's the most exciting and heartwarming film...
Published on June 30 2004 by William

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair, but not superb...
I really am not that impressed with a film that leaves the viewer NO room to form an opinion contrary to what you're "Supposed to" feel. The film's so formulatic that it's really sad. There are a few early scenes that show Billy's discovery of ballet that really are something special, but even these are cross cut with shots showing the police quelling a worker's...
Published on Sept. 10 2001 by Jeremy Heilman


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent moive, good music and extradionary dancing., June 30 2004
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
I can't say enough about Billy Elliot. The boy who plays Billy ( Jamie Bell) started ballet dancing when he was 6, this film is his debut. He's 13 now and by the looks of his leg muscles he's been working out hard. The film has an excellent sound track and another surprise boy whom loves Billy.
You'll love Billy Elliot, it's the most exciting and heartwarming film I've seen this year.
William
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boxing vs. Ballet, Jan. 29 2004
This review is from: Billy Elliot (VHS Tape)
I started watching this movie unwillingly. The opening credits with Billy jumping on a trampoline to a drippy song didn't help. But when the story got going, and I was able to understand more and more of the Durham accent, I was hooked.
There's quite a lot of social commentary lying right beneath the surface here, with the coal miners' strike going on, and Billy growing up without a mother. But what jumped out at me is the whole question of what makes a man. Obviously, whether a boy prefers boxing or ballet is not the measure. But how the men in the household and in the community respond when they are forced to deal with Billy's talent is complex and revealing.
The VHS version also has interviews with the stars, director, and producers.(H. Cota)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Be Fooled By the Cover..., Jan. 13 2004
By 
T. George "anne-with-an-e" (An American city) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
When my friend recommended we see this film, I really didn't remember hearing about it. When I saw the cover, I realized I had passed by it in the video store a million times without interest. It seemed like the story of some little innocent kid having a good time...perhaps he would meet a fairy or a magical mushroom or something.
Boy was I wrong on that one. This movie is truly one of the best I had seen in 2003...and I saw it at least twice and got different things out of it each time. The basic storyline is about an 11-year-old boy in a miner's family who discovers that he prefers to join the girls for ballet class rather than go to his boxing class.
When his father finds out that he's been spending money & time to learn ballet, he completely flips out. (A little predictable, yes.) But, the storyline is complex enough that you are able to sympathize with the father's point of view. He & his older son are part of the HUGE miner's strike in the early 1980's in the Northern England the helped change the industry forever. This strike - and the resulting poverty of many in their town - is a draining & disabling blow for a tough man who has lost his wife, is trying to keep his older son in line, and has to cut up or sell every last thing he cherishes in order to keep his family alive.
It is against this backdrop that one young boy discovers that he loves dance. Emotionally, you don't know where to turn. On one hand, you are delighted that this boy is able to find some sort of outlet for his pent-up anger, joy, sadness, fear & hope. On the other, you realize that this is not an ideal time or place for such a discovery...and the father has enough on his plate without needing to have a Disney-esque type transformation required of him.
As the story progresses, it is perhaps a little predictable. (Except when Billy beats up the little rich boy. That was unexpected and fairly amusing.) However, I think the genius of the film lies not in the uniqueness of the plotline but rather in the human story told via this plotline. The acting is absolutely suberb as you are drawn into this tale of strikers battling policemen, the intense loyalty of the miners to each other, children beginning to grow up, a tough little boy finding an array of hope, and the unexpected support a bunch of burned-out characters can give to each other when their hope is renewed.
I want to make a special mention of Billy's ballet teacher because I think she is one of my favorite movie characters. While Billy's father & brother & best friend, etc. are all great characters, I really loved this woman. She was as tough as nails and as burned out as a middle-class wife & mother could be in such a tough period...and yet you respect her for how she holds herself, for how she hangs on, and for her selfless interest in at least one little boy. I don't think she's an easy character to summarize & dismiss.
BTW - a special note to viewers. This movie employs cursing as a way of expressing some of the emotion of the day. I don't think it's forced at all, and the British accent & terms don't make it as offensive to our ears. However, I wouldn't recommend you watch this if it will be a problem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant though flawed film, Dec 29 2003
By 
alexliamw (New Haven, CT) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
A few points about Billy Elliot:
* It is beautifully and realistically shot. The setting in general and the acting too are very reflective of Northern England and the atmosphere there. This is aided in particular by Gary Lewis, superb as the father, giving a really brilliant and realistic performance absolutely sewn in with emotion.
* This is an important film, because part of its point is to destroy prejudices and stereotypes. Consequently, do not believe the reccomendations that you do not show this to your children: it teaches them more about life and the world and so forth than the problems you have have with the (only realistic, might I add) swearing, and the "homo-erotic" scene one reviewer mentions is in fact a very light and momentary kiss on the side of the cheek which is basically entirely non-sexual. Yes, one of the characters is gay (please note that Billy isn't), but assuming you're not homophobic I don't see why this is a problem in showing it to your children.
* Bell's dancing is not entirely brilliant - he is not a trained ballet dancer, although he is trained in tap, presumably the reason why there is so much tap in the film. Though the lack of technical excellence is no problem as it shows Billy's exuberant, less technical and slightly haywire style as he is as yet undeveloped and untrained, and his style is indeed very different (as seen in front of the panel of judges at the school) from the status quo, there is one problem: using tap so much. If Billy isn't a technically excellent ballet dancer, he shouldn't really be a technically excellent tap dancer either, even if the actor is. It doesn't make sense in context of plot (ie where did Billy learn to tap dance?) and for me spoils his best dances, some of which are truly overflowing with boundless energy and youthful zest.
* Using Adam Cooper at the end as adult Billy is a moment of genius. For those who don't know Adam Cooper is a brilliant male British dancer who played the lead in Matthew Bourne's adventurous all-male 'Swan Lake' - the production shown at the end. Though as far as I'm aware Cooper's story doesn't mirror Billy's, seeing Cooper's all-too-brief cameo dancing is an inspiring moment, and he unlike Bell is a technically brilliant dancer, which works because Billy's youthful, less controlled and exuberant dancing has been harnessed into something more precise and technical during the years at ballet school.
* The soundtrack is a slight concern for me. 'London Calling' works very well, as do the old soul numbers, but my concern comes in using 'I Believe' as the title music. Firstly, it isn't a great song - though the words are intended as inspiring it comes across as cheesy and is against the flow of Billy's quiet determination and the gritty realism of the setting - its an all-out, cheesy song - but Billy would never sing this song. If we put his determination into music it would be a dramatic song of fire and grit - turbulent, driving, and so forth - saying 'I Believe' but in a rather different way. The second problem with using the song is that, if the film is trying to debunk prejudices (eg anyone who does ballet is gay), then why use a song by a notoriously gay artist? I'm not in the slightest homophobic - in fact I'm touched by and very much appreciate the scenes involving Michael - but I just see that using a song by a gay artist seems rather predictable and would serve to undo the work the film has done in debunking the stereotype in some people's minds.
These, however, are minor flaws. Billy Elliot is a brilliant film in all: an inspiring one, a moving one, a gritty and realistic one. To combine these factors is rare, to do it and score a major hit is rarer. This is required viewing, and surely a classic which will stand the test of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Elliot shines., Aug. 13 2003
By 
Terry Downey (Naugatuck, Ct, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Billy Elliot" is one of the all-time best movies I have ever seen. I've raised two boys of my own, and let me tell you, Jamie Bell's portrayal of adolescent angst, boy-style is flawless. I've actually witnessed my thirteen year-old son pound something and then punch the air in impotent rage as Billy did after his father forbade him to take any more dance lessons, and when Billy's teacher chastised him for not practicing and Billy angrily responded that he couldn't do what she was asking, my son, recognizing the problem immediately, sagely stated,"He can't do it because he's angry." When Billy told off his teacher for always telling him what to do "the same as everybody else," I asked my daughter if it reminded her of anybody, and she laughed and said,"Yeah, Brian! (the aforementioned 13 year old). When Billy danced out his anger and frustration at not being heard and at having no control over anything that was happening to him or to his family, and then came smack up against a wall, pounding it and giving it one last elbow-jab before sinking into sullen silence, Brian, again recognizing himself, said, "I make that face." It's hard to believe that Jamie Bell had almost no acting experience before he made this movie. I believe he is going to be a force to reckon with in the movie world.
Aside from Jamie Bell's spectacular acting and dancing, the other characters were perfectly cast and acted. Julie Walters (Educating Rita) as the chain-smoking dance teacher who both mothers and pushes Billy to the limit is at her absolute best, as is Gary Lewis as the grieving, angry, bewildered father.
The story itself was at once heartbreaking and heartwarming without being either contrived or shmaltzy. One does not have to be a boy who has recently lost his mother, and who'd rather dance than box, to relate to Billy's struggle to deal with adversity and to be accepted for who he is. I couldn't stop watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only a women's movie, July 28 2003
By 
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
First of all this critical review about "Billy Elliot" is the summary of lots of critical reviews from our English class. The British movie "Billy Elliot", produced by Stephen Daldrey in 2000 is about a boy who faces the problems to become a famous ballet dancer in the time of the miner's strikes.
He lives with his grandma, father and brother together in the most difficult time for miners (70's - 80's). So they all have their own problems and it looks as if the family would break especially as the father, who wants his son to do boy sports like boxing, finds out about his son's dancing ambitions. But Billy has a strong will and stands by his dream to become a dancer. He reaches his aim and in the final scene you can see him in a real big theatre.
You can immediately see that it is not one of those Hollywood productions again. The colours are different, colder and the story/plot really tells us an interesting story.
The camera moves fit perfectly to the scenes presented and create a perfect atmosphere for the watcher.
Just like the music that is in this case important, because if you listen very carefully to the text of the songs you can connect it with the plot of the scenes. It is especially important when Billy dances to it, for example in the scene in which he encounters his father in the sports club and Billy wants to show him that he can, wants and will dance. Or take the scene when Mrs Wilkinson comes to Billy's house and has a fight with Tony while Billy stands on the table and just cannot take it. Suddenly you can see him dancing with all his emotions, power, fear and hatred. This is the one scene in which you cannot only see but feel that dancing is for Billy the way to express himself..
The actors are very well chosen. Jamie Bell plays such a lovely Billy Elliot just like you had imagined him after reading the book. And that is also true for the other actors like July Walters as Mrs Wilkinson or Gary Lewis as Jackie Elliot, the strict father who succeeds in overcoming his inhibitions to help Billy's dream of dancing come true.
Still, as we heard that we would talk in the English lessons about "Billy Elliot" the class was divided into two groups, the one who liked the idea and the other one who thought that it would be a "woman's movie". But in the end almost everybody liked it. And the movie is a very good example of the idea that everybody can fulfil his dreams if he has the will and ambition to do so. We would not say there is a special age group for watching this movie, so we would recommend it to everybody.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Men DO Dance!, Nov. 19 2002
By 
Tiggah "the Anglophile" (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Billy Elliot (VHS Tape)
Set during Northern England's miners' strike of 1984, Billy Elliot is a heart-warming, inspiring story about an eleven-year-old boy from a poor working-class family who aspires, despite the odds, to be a ballet dancer. Billy, however, lives with his elder brother and his father, both of whom are striking miners and neither of whom can abide let alone comprehend Billy's desire to take ballet lessons. It simply isn't done. It's not for a lad, and that's that.
Billy struggles to follow both his heart and his innate talent in order to break free from a less-than-ideal (and at times even violent) home life and the prospects of a bleak future. As a result, walls, cages, barriers and other images of entrapment figure prominently in the film, underscoring his predicament, and his dancing (by which means he struggles to break free) is powerfully juxtaposed with scenes of the violence, rage, and hatred in the community at the time.
The Special Edition of the video contains a 20 minute blurb (after the closing credits) with the show's stars, producers, and director talking about the film, the characters, and the situation in England at the time, all of which is interspersed with brief clips from the film.
The film is a 2000 BBC co-production with a running time of 111 minutes. Apart from a superb storyline that is powerfully portrayed, the acting is absolutely first rate by all involved. The Northumberland accents may be a little difficult at first for some, but it's nothing that can't be overcome with close attention, and it's well worth the effort.
In short, I'd highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a moving and inspiring yet rough-around-the-edges story of a lad intent upon breaking free and following his dreams in spite of the odds. This is not some slick but gooey, maudlin Hollywood-style production, and in my opinion it's all the better for it. The production is extremely well done--all the more so for being done in a manner so sensitive to the subject matter and the setting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ELEVATION OF BILLY, Aug. 2 2002
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
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Does the perfect movie exist? Billy Elliot must come very close. From its brilliant casting, to clever cinematography to ... foot stomping choreography, this movie has got it all. The freshness and originality of Billy Elliot almost jumps off the screen. The British production house, Working Title Films over the last five years or so have had some great hits: Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones' Diary, Elizabeth and in late 2000 we got Billy Elliot. They take great risks by using untried scriptwriters, directors and young actors and somehow have produced a string of fabulous movies.
The plot of Billy Elliot is simple enough; a North Country lad from a coal mining family discovers the joys of dance. Against opposition from his father and elder brother, young Billy discovers himself and his talents. All this happens within the vortex of Margaret Thatcher's mid-1980's economic and social revolution, which swirls around them.
At first glance, you might be tempted to classify Billy Elliot into the well-trodden school of gritty, British social realism, best expressed by Ken Loach of Cathy Come Home fame. Although mostly set in a working class world, the direction and camera work captures scenes of outstanding beauty. Cranes and bridges move like graceful, colourful birds; a kitchen table containing just two sauce bottles and duck-egg blue salt and pepper shakers has the aesthetics of an Old Master's still life.
The film's Director of Photography, Brian Tufano, has been quoted as saying, "... framing, composition, colours and texture are the elements you need to convey a story." Some scenes captured by Tufano's camera are nothing short of magical. We have Billy and his girlfriend Debbie walking past a wall of riot-shielded policemen. She nonchalantly rattles a stick along the shields and then she passes behind a parked police van. The van moves off and Debbie has disappeared. Has she been beamed up or abducted?
Billy's elder brother, Tony, a hotheaded union agitator, is chased along the streets near the Elliot family's terrace house. The lanes are full of virginal white, bedsheets hanging out to dry. Tony gets caught up in these as the police lay into him with their truncheons. We have the understatement of only seeing his blood seeping through the shroud-like sheets. If this movie were out of today's Hollywood, it would have been full-on gore. Despite the drama and action in this scene, it has an almost comic touch, with the soundtrack giving us The Clash doing London Calling. The chase through the streets and houses could come straight from a Max Sennet Keystone Cops movie from the 1920s.
In the reconciliation scene between Billy and his Dad, we see the two of them perched on a fence. A cemetery - where Billy's Mum lies buried - is in the foreground. Behind the fence is a field of golden ripe corn and on the skyline there are the sinister looking headframes of the coal mines. When we see the two of them wrestling and laughing in the cornfield, we are reminded that truly emotionally moving scenes in movies are possible without relying on Hollywood's formulaic schmaltz.
The blending of classical and contemporary music throughout the movie, both as a setting for the dance routines and as background music is natural and seamless. The climactic final scene, which is set 14 years later, has Billy debuting in a starring role in the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake. The build-up and tension from Tchaikovsky's music takes us to that transcending moment where Billy launches himself into a grand jete, where he seems to float in space.
Billy Elliot is a film that appeals at many levels, but the best recommendation is to just sit back and enjoy one of the best movies you will see in a long time.
As a footnote, it's worth seeing the DVD version of the movie since the subtitles will really help you get the most from the subtle nuances in the thickly accented dialogue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On Being Different, June 14 2003
By 
H. F. Corbin "Foster Corbin" (ATLANTA, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Billy Elliot (VHS Tape)
A young lad decides he likes ballet better than boxing. This does not sit well with his father, a very macho man who works in the mines. And what we have is-- in the best sense of the word-- an extremely "sweet" movie. On the eve of Father's Day, this is a great movie to celebrate fathers for Billy's father grows and changes and come to appreciate his son's great talent. Anyone who has known the pangs associated with being different and not fitting in can relate to this fine movie.
I have seen this movie again and again. The poignant ending still makes my eyes water.
What makes this movie even more meaningful is that it is based on a real little boy's experience. Additionally, I read recently that for the first time ever the Royal Ballet has more young men enrolled than young girls and all because of this great little movie.
If you haven't seen this gem, go rent it today. Or better still, purchase it. You'll want to see it again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tender and enjoyable story, April 28 2004
This review is from: Billy Elliot (Widescreen) (DVD)
This was a good film with good production quality. The acting was solid and heart felt. The story was tender, heroic, affirming and at times very funny. Since the story line is outlined in the other reviews, I'll not be redundant. The fact is that I enjoyed the film on it's many levels and feel that it is a sound investment. The images of the young man fighting for the freedom to be and do what it is his nature to, was exceptional and inspired. The courage that this eleven year old shows in the film is splendid and this film is good not only for the skill of acting but for the heart warming feeling that it inspires. It is true that the basis of the story has been done before in many other ways however it can be important to see it from other perspectives as this did. A good investment.
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Billy Elliot (Widescreen)
Billy Elliot (Widescreen) by Stephen Daldry (DVD - 2003)
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