Billy Elliot Like Electricity [Movie Review]

It’s 1:15 a.m. and I just finished watching a BBC film called Billy Elliot. My face is still wet from tears and tight from smiles, but I can’t think of a better time to write a review of this exhilarating film.

Released in 2000, this outstanding film is about a talented boy torn between his love of dance and the disintegration of his family. 11-year-old Billy belongs to a family of four. With his mother dead, he lives with his father, older brother and senile grandmother in a dingy flat in a British country town. A prominent feature of the movie’s backdrop is the town’s upheaval with the mining strike, of which both Billy’s father and brother participate in.

Although his father was a boxing talent, Billy himself doesn’t have the head for it. In fact, through much of the movie, one wonders if Billy is ADHD. One day during boxing lessons with the other town boys, the ballet class came to share the same space – and Billy became fascinated.

Throughout the movie, Billy struggles to get his family to accept his love and talent for dancing. With the encouragement of his local dance teacher, the teacher’s daughter, and a closeted gay boy, Billy aims to audition at the Royal Ballet School in London. Of course, the father and brother disapprove of Billy’s goal and are not understanding of what they consider to something a “poof” would do. But in his own way, Billy challenges and wins over his family’s acceptance with a display of determination – of course, conveyed through dance. And soon, the entire town is holding their breath as they wait for word of his audition.

For myself, I loved the British accents. And I was thrilled with the dancing, which was a combination of tap and ballet. Billy certainly has a style all his own, quite wild and unpredictable at times but very entertaining to watch. The use of  sound throughout this film was appropriate as well. In some scenes, the music is muted and focus is shifted to the individual’s lips, body language and other inaudible movements.

The film ended with a professional performance of Billy Elliot in London. Not only did his father and brother travel from the country to see him, but Michael, Billy’s closeted gay friend – and his Black friend – were also in attendance. Of course, the father and brother were surprised. They didn’t recognize Michael, but I did. 😉

When they asked him why he was there, Micheal smiled and replied, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

And neither should you. Truly, Elliot is like electricity.

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