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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on September 10, 2001
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 rebellion. The biggest problem with the film is that Billy is meant to stand for more than he is. He's filling in as hope for an entire community here. His dad & brother are resigned to being coal workers. His teacher has a failed marriage & teaches for 50 pence a lesson. His gay friend feels stifled by his homosexuality and sees Billy as the only one who understands him. His grandmother had hopes of being a pro dancer, but never got the training. Taken one by one these subplots are fine, but the accumulation of them all makes the film feel so forced that it really hurts the overall impact of Billy's dancing glories. The film achieves its successes in the small moments of personal discovery; the rest seems unnecessary.

The scenes simply work much better alone than in the framework of the picture where they all combine to form mush despite the fact that there is little mush contained in them individually. There's a good supporting performance by Julie Waters. The rest of the cast is fine if unexceptional. It's hardly an awful film, and I realize there is talent present, butI just with it wasn't all so damn manipulative.
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on August 26, 2001
This film was enormously popular in England. It is a young boy rising up against the elements set against the background of the miners strike type film. Our intrepid hero is a young working class lad who's dad sets aside small amounts of dole money so that he can learn to box and look after himself. Instead of boxing out lad is drawn to the other side of the hall where some girls are practicing ballet. He heads over and starts to take lessons. He knows that his dad will not approve so that he tells no one. The young lad has a bit of a talent and impresses his teacher Julie Walters from Educating Rita. Julie is trapped in a loveless and pointless marriage to someone who is overweight and is attracted to our young hero as one aspect of beauty in an otherwise messy life. Our hero's father finds out from his boxing teacher that his son has been hovering on the dark side and there is a confrontation. In the end the dads love wins out against his prejudices of what a man should do. The climax is set in a strange ... version of Swan Lake in which the various swan parts are played by male dancers. Our hero has been able to escape the dead end of working class life and move into the tertiary sector. The film is sort of okay but I found it hard to get into. I preferred the similar but less artificial Bootmen. Still that just may be nationalism. Despite my prejudices the film is well crafted original and was much loved.
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on May 3, 2001
This film has been praised so much and I feel that it is for the wrong reasons. Everytime someone describes it, they say "boy that likes ballet". This is true, of course, but it doesn't begin to describe all the aspects in it. The truth is, people like it because it's something they haven't seen before, that is, a boy liking ballet who is not gay. This seems to be an obsession in the American culture now and that is why the film is so praised. In reality, this is just a cut and dry coming of age film about a boy who struggles with his father, mother is dead, and loves an activity that is frowned upon for boys. The film is good in displaying all the other aspects in his life that have nothing to do with ballet, like how he deals with his mother's death, but has nothing spectacular in the entire film. It is very enjoyable and funny at times, but just doesn't have that extra something to make it great.
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on April 8, 2001
My companion and I were quite disappointed upon viewing this film after all of the hype. It was very much a paint-by-the-numbers, Hollywood, feel-good screenplay. Although, if it were in fact produced by Hollywood, it would have been unsufferable. Good performances by Bell and Walters, but far too familiar in it's plot to be anything more than mildly entertaining.
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on April 25, 2001
Think Rocky in tights.
The performances are solid, Jamie Bell a find, the father great. We've seen the story a million times before. The 'powerful' scene where he dances in anger I found irritating. Cliched on the teacher, Granny, Brother characters.
Great soundtrack though.
Want to see a great movie with the same themes get 'Kes'.
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on April 22, 2001
I enjoyed the story a great deal. However, the sound in the DVD version is really bad. I kept having to turn the volume way up to hear the dialogue and turn it way down for the louder passages. I would like for your sound analyst to check this out.
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on April 6, 2004
do what you love, that's the movie. have known it for 15 years. been there, done that. please show me something new.
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