Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Julie Walters, Jamie Bell, Jamie Draven, Gary Lewis (III), Jean Heywood
Director: Stephen Daldry
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
THE LIFE OF 11-YEAR-OLD BILLY ELLIOT, A COAL-MINER'S SON, IS FOREVER CHANGED ONE DAY WHEN HE STUMBLES UPON A BALLET CLASS DURING HIS WEEKLY BOXING LESSON. BEFORE LONG, HE FINDS HIMSELF DEMONSTRATING THE KIND OF RAW TALENT ... more »
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Buck L. (Suntydt) from TAZEWELL, TN
Reviewed on 10/6/2013...
It was an entertaining movie but hard to watch... actually listen. The setting is England and the towns people have strong cockney accents. This made it hard to understand what they were saying. And if you're not familiar with some of the "English" slang you may still not understand what they are saying. Unless of course it is when they are cursing which they ALL do often. You kind of understand that without hearing what they say. But anywho... my mother and I watched it with subtitles on and we enjoyed it allot.
It's all about being able to express yourself.
Chris Lund | Atlanta, GA USA | 12/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beginning with an exuberant title sequence, this charming, offbeat, coming-of-age story revolves around Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell), the younger of two sons of a widower coal miner (Gary Lewis) near Newcastle in Northern England. It's 1984, and the National Union of Mine Workers is engaged in a long, bitter strike, marked by street battles with riot police and protests against the busloads of scabs crossing the picket lines. Following the family tradition, Billy is expected to learn boxing at the Everington Boys Club where, instead, the 11 year-old becomes enthralled by the girls' dancing class, led by a chain-smoking teacher (Julie Walters) who soon recognizes his raw talent. He loves watching Fred Astaire in old movies and is instantly drawn towards the ballet class, but when his macho father and rabble-rousing brother (Jamie Draven) discover he's taking ballet classes, they ridicule Billy - "Lads do boxing and football and wrestling, not friggin' ballet!" - forcing him to hide his slippers under the mattress and sneak off to class. Then come the auditions for the Royal Ballet School and Billy's defiantly joyful, foot-stompin' "I Want to Boogie" sequence. What makes this heartfelt English import such a gem is the collaboration of screenwriter Lee Hall, cinematographer Brian Tufano ("Trainspotting") and former stage director Stephen Daldry ("An Inspector Calls"), who - despite the simplistic predictability of the plot - create eccentric, lovable characters and evocative imagery. One haunting sequences focuses on a little neighborhood girl dragging a stick along a brick wall, which dissolves into a phalanx of plastic police shields. Another involves the father grimly chopping up Billy's mother's beloved piano for needed firewood. While some of the authentic, heavily accented dialogue may be indecipherable to some, the musical soundtrack, combining classical and pop, is terrific.In the title role, newcomer Jamie Bell embodies awkward determination, juggling grim reality with a surreal fantasy world, explaining, "Just because I like ballet doesn't mean I'm a pouf!" As Billy's father, Gary Lewis ("My Name is Joe") is tough-yet-tender, and Julie Walters ("Educating Rita") scores as Billy's crusty yet compassionate teacher. ("I feel like a sissy," Billy tells her. "Well, don't act like one," she retorts.) Jamie Draven and Stuart Wells lend strong support. Jean Heywood is touching as Billy's senile grandmother, whom he tenderly cares for and who repeatedly recalls, "I could have been a professional dancer." While the bleak setting, in the 1984 miners' strike in northeastern England, is reminiscent of "The Full Monty," the energetic mood evokes "Flashdance" - and it was a bit hit at both the Toronto and Cannes Film Festivals. On the `Lund Movie Scale' of 1 to 10, "Billy Elliot" is an exhilarating 9. Combining comedy and poignancy, it's all about being able to express yourself."
R. Penola | NYC, NY United States | 10/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you love intimate, moving character films like Cinema Paradiso, you will love love love Billy Elliot. A small, rousing British film with cleverly written characters, this movie is both sentimental and expertly crafted. The performances, particularly from Julie Walters as the dance instructor, and that winsome, melancholy but excpetionally gifted boy as Billy, will truly steal your heart. The simple premise is instantly grabbing -- an artistic boy, only 11, is unfortunately the most forgotten element in a fractured, sad little family, which includes a pre-Alzheimer's grandmother, an angry older brother and a defeated, sad and tense father. While Dad and bro are on strike, money is tight - the year is 1984 at the height of British strike/tensions. Billy is sent to boxing lessons, where, by happenstance, he discovers a true vent for his budding creativity -- and especially his joy in dancing. Filled with infectiously appealing pop and light-classical music, this film is part Rocky, part Hollywood musical, part Flashdance and part Cinema Paradiso. The chance that these disparate, unlikely approaches might actually add up to something compelling are unlikely, but you must experience this movie to understand how exciting, moving and intensely gratifying it can be. Painted in bold, creative colors and shot with a springy exuberance, Billy Elliot is terrific."
A Terrific Tale of Redemption and the Father-Son Dynamic
Jose R. Perez | Yonkers, NY USA | 04/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jamie Bell is pure magic in this wonderful coming-0f-age film that tells the story of a working class English lad who takes up ballet as a way to hone his boxing skills. In the process, he discovers himself, learnes some valuable life lessons, and fills a deep void left by the death of his beloved mum. Despite his family's strong objections (and financial straits) Billy ends up studying dance from a local teacher (the effervescent Julie Walters, who won an Oscar nomination for her work here). Her lessons - both technical and moral - serve as the basis for a devastatingly real connection between Billy and his disgusted macho father. What ensues is a dramatic comedy that inspires us at every turn without condescension or pity. The heartening interaction that develops between father and son is truly evocative, especially so for anyone who ever followed (or didn't) their dreams despite their family's objections. Not only does Billy "Dance!!" for his supper...he befriends the local outcast gay teenager and copes with questions about his own sexual orientation - heady topics for a movie about a dancing teen. All of this is handled in a mature, thoughtful manner, which makes the film a visceral, haunting experience. You can take or leave it's many messages, but theere is no denying its emotional core.It's rare for a movie to challenge social mores and values by focusing on the dominant male principals. But "Billy Elliot" succeeds on more levels than other underdog-come-from-behind flicks. First, its based on a true story and resonates with truth, integrity and spirit. And, Bell's brash, authentic portrayal is pure magic. His feet literally take over his soul...he dances in the street, mimmicking Gene Kelly, and in the process taps his way into your heart. The performance is so accomplished it's a wonder Bell didn't receive an Oscar nomination. Even Russell Crowe - who won the 2000 BAFTA and Oscar for "Gladiator" - admitted Bell deserved the BAFTA Prize instead. Having resisted "Billy Elliot" at the movies, I finally caught it recently on HBO and was taken in immediately. This is a film your entire family can and should enjoy...if they don't, perhaps a little side trip to an English coal-mining town will help them appreciate this wonderful heartwarming film. Seriously, in this day and age, every one of us could use more Billy Elliots and fewer Scorpion Kings. A keeper!"