Reviewer's Rating 5 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Billy Elliot (2000)

Billy Elliot is a would-be dancer growing up in a mining community - always a tough existence but during the strikes of the 1980s, an unbearably harsh world. Afraid of the reaction he'll get from family and friends, Billy keeps his newfound and unexpected love of ballet secret. Yet if he's good enough, this could be what saves him from the pit.

You are heartless if you don't love every minute of this - and the makers, led by BBC Films, should be very pleased about it, too. It's a simple tale but one that is extremely well told and acted. Fittingly for a story about dance, it doesn't put a foot wrong and is engrossing, funny, very sad, very moving and very uplifting.

Jamie Bell as the young Billy Elliot is especially impressive as he manages the complex emotions his character goes through when his secret is discovered and his hopes are blocked. He's also outstanding at the dancing - managing not just to be great at it but also to show us a progression as he struggles to become that great and the effort it takes to keep it up.

It's really about anyone who has wanted to do something with their lives but it does also show ballet as being as hard as physical labour.

Something does stop this just shy of being perfect, though it really is only marginally short of that. Possibly the tale at heart is too simple and the idea of the child struggling to become an adult is too familiar to make the story as good as the telling. But it's the best British movie for years - and certainly more movingly told than "The Full Monty".

Read a review of the DVD.

End Credits

Director: Stephen Daldry

Writer: Lee Hall

Stars: Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Jamie Draven, Gary Lewis

Genre: Drama

Length: 110 minutes

Cinema: 29 September 2000

DVD: 2 April 2002

Country: UK

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