059 - Billy Elliot (2000)

Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy's fight against his doubters as he chases his dream of performing ballet.

Billy was brought up in the 1980's miner's strike and, with the fact his mother also died when Billy was younger, his father struggles to bring him and his brother up on very little money.

His father wants Billy to take up boxing, as he did and his father did before him. However, it is clear that Billy isn't particularly good and shows more of an interest in the ballet school.

As Billy develops his talent in ballet, his father and brother struggle to fight against their oppressions and Billy's talent starts to begin to look like another embarrassment his father can't take.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Billy Elliot is built around a main theme which involves contrast. While Billy (Jamie Bell) is learning his craft as a ballet dancer - being a "poof" - his father (Gary Lewis) is struggling to earn a living and is literally fighting for his family's survival. It is this which keeps the audience truly engaged with the film.

As a result, as well as the stirling performance from Bell - which involves many complicated dance moves especially for a boy of 13 - he is backed up perfectly by Lewis whose contrast in emotion between the start and end of the film is tear-jerking and moving.

Aiding these two wonderful actors is a number of other underlying themes that the film does well to explore, particularly underlined by the society that they live in. Billy's best friend is -supposedly - a homosexual who is struggling to come out, while his ballet teacher is struggling against the same oppression as Billy from those who can't see the beauty of dance. In the final scene, it is clear that times do change and the greater good will prevail.

A thoroughly enjoyable film.