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Overall Rating
4.15

Awesome51.91%
Worth A Look: 25.95%
Average: 10.69%
Pretty Bad: 7.63%
Total Crap: 3.82%

9 reviews, 77 user ratings


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Billy Elliot
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Greg Muskewitz

"It amounts to a typical mold and never breaks."
3 stars

There are plenty of times you can sit through a movie without minding it, but still feel as if it isn’t good enough to fully recommend; such is the case with Billy Elliot. It certainly isn’t bad, but it is at times annoying, and the amateurity of the cast and crew along with the familiarity that the story treads over, takes its toll on the final product.

The story of Billy Elliot is totally interchangeable with half of them out there: a young child is good at something and enjoys it, but because of the parent’s skepticism of the hobby/profession, the kid must do it in secrecy until they’re found out and forbidden to do it. The title character here, 11-year-old Billy (Jamie Bell) has a strong talent for ballet that’s accidentally discovered while attending boxing classes. It’s 1984 in N-East of England, and if you’re familiar with the time, the miners were all on strike. So while Billy’s father (Gary Lewis) and brother (Stuart Wells) aren’t bringing in money, and discourage those from going back (“Scabs eat well, eh? First rule: you don’t cross the picket!”), Billy must keep a lid on it.

Of course this has to be a happy, chirpy inspirational movie, so despite his dad finding out (“Lads do football or boxing or wrestling. Not friggin’ ballet!”) everything turns out for the better. Although this was screened for me first, Girlfight, which opened a week or two ago, had the exact themes and foundations, except it was a 17-year-old Hispanic girl getting into boxing behind her father’s back (and in both movies the mother is dead). In essence, Lee Hall’s script is just a glossy wipe-over, and debut director Stephen Daldry treats it all too gently. There’s just too much that’s false in the movie, like having Billy looked at as if he was gay (“Just because I like ballet doesn’t mean I’m a poof”) while his buddy turns out to be a “poof,” wearing his mother’s clothes and make-up. When that doesn’t work, Hall’s script switches over to sitcommy (everyone sits around the letter from London’s Royale Ballet School to see if he was accepted, waiting for him to get home, etc.), and those things ruin the movie’s credibility. The challenges risen to were not nearly as driven for or rewarding. Too much of Billy Elliot was overly peachy-keen and smoothed it all over in order to make it uncomplicated.

When we actually get to see some ballet (in the Irish brogue, ballet dancing sounds like “belly dancing”) the choreography by Peter Darling was very good. If it wasn’t apparent by the size of Jamie Bell’s calves before he started dancing in the movie, he was obviously hitherto trained, and very well so. Bell is quick and agile, and he does have the talent needed for the form of dance. Another merit is Brian Tufano’s cinematography, which, for the most part is unobtrusive, observing the spectacular footwork instead of getting tangled in it. There are a few slips, but Tufano is mostly a good sport.

Unlike the dancing skills, the acting was only mediocre. Bell has appealing looks for a little kid, but his characterization is weak, and he flounders. With the exception of Julie Walters as the dance coach (“Her sex life is unfulfilled. That’s why she dances”), most of the others are rookies as well. The cast of Billy Elliot is kind of shaky, especially when compared to the professionalism of the dancing.

All in all, it’s a sweet movie, filled fully with saccharine, that some audiences will bestow accolades on while others just dismiss it. It’s too run-of-the-mill to lose any sleep over.

Final Verdict: C+.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4464&reviewer=172
originally posted: 09/29/00 17:02:39
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User Comments

2/05/09 Anonymous. the most charming movie i've ever seen, i loved it :] 5 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Hard to understand the heavy accents sometimes, but makes anyone want to get up and dance. 5 stars
6/01/08 David Cohen Cliched tripe without a single likeable character 2 stars
8/14/07 Hello Stranger predictable but awwwwww so great to watch 4 stars
1/26/07 Shanaynay Great characters and very heartwarming and inspirational 5 stars
1/20/07 Davo Brilliant flim, Jamie Bell Superb Actor, can watch it time and time again 5 stars
1/01/07 A The best thing ever. You should also see the musical. AMAZING!!! 5 stars
9/17/06 james fabulous and now that i'm starring in the new musical as billy, it is an inspiration. 5 stars
7/23/06 Daveman A resident of County Durham, I can tesify we do NOT talk like that and we are NOT that poor 2 stars
4/02/06 Riki Who is that kid?! 5 stars
8/18/05 boogy man do you want to see my fanny? hahahaha i have to do it 4 yr 10 baa boooring 1 stars
7/23/05 Captain Craig A WOW..onderful film. Left me wanting more! 5 stars
7/14/05 Rabbi Ledinski I have to study this stupid movie for year 12, it used to be cool, but i'm bored of it. 1 stars
7/06/05 muhammad ehsan it is superbly boring 1 stars
6/03/05 anon amazing film-really good! 5 stars
5/16/05 Litty I loved it but not as much as I love Mcleods Daughters 4 stars
5/10/05 Samantha I think it was pretty, daun good 5 stars
4/20/05 Georgina Definately has entered my list of favourites 5 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig A really wonder story, well done and quite original 5 stars
1/29/05 movie boi :) gr8 drama :( 5 stars
10/29/04 Elaine Pang Good enough to make my friend cry. bad enough to make another sleep. Could be done better. 1 stars
10/28/04 Kristen I dug it !!! 5 stars
9/27/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 The gold standard for movies about aspiring dancers living in squalor 5 stars
4/02/04 Paola Great Film Highly Recomended 5 stars
2/14/04 Jose O. Isidro Billy Elliot will always be my number one movie. 5 stars
2/11/04 teri reilly fantastic 5 stars
2/02/04 john bale Simple heartwarming stories sometimes make great cinema, this is one such. 5 stars
9/14/03 J I have seen this movie hundreds of times and it is still the best movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
5/28/03 Jessica I LOVE BILLY ELLIOT! 5 stars
4/30/03 rik i dont trust any critic who doesnt think this is great, because it is! 5 stars
3/06/03 Dina Smith I saw this in school and I tought it was wonderful 4 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Great film. Very underrated work from Gary Lewis. 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Wonderful film...just wish it had subtitles. 5 stars
10/02/01 alf awful tawdry take on english northern life and why were t rex featured in 1984? 2 stars
9/10/01 Malin Öhlén I love the scen when Michael kisses Billy! It´s so sweet! And Stuart Wells is very cute!!!! 5 stars
9/06/01 Bada Bing Crosby I can't imagine the soul of the person who thinks this is crap 5 stars
8/18/01 Dana loved it!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/13/01 KCobain Very inspirational. Jamie Bell was terrific. Dance scenes were dazzling. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg This is not the greatest British film of all time . 4 stars
7/24/01 Pia Wesley Really good movie based on true situations of males being homaphobic. 5 stars
7/10/01 Monday Morning Just like Billy Jack except with dancing instead of head-kicking. Seriously, 'twas lame. 3 stars
6/23/01 Onyx Wonderful story. Enjoyed it. The ending was beautiful. 4 stars
6/14/01 Courtney THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE AND IT ALWAYS WILL BE! I LUV JAMIE BELL 5 stars
6/09/01 Girl 9 NO BILLY NO! Everything about this film has been overrated, from the story to the actors. 2 stars
5/17/01 nowak The reviewer for iF Magazine is simply pathetic. 5 stars
5/14/01 Dave Truly a piece of "shite" 1 stars
5/12/01 Emilio Touching, funny, an excellent film! 5 stars
5/05/01 Bada Bing Crosby The only movie I could see myself watching on a daily basis 5 stars
5/03/01 Antonio Excelent!! The best film year!! 5 stars
4/26/01 Twang Kern Zern If I never see another movie in my life, I'll die happy because I've watched Billy Elliot. 5 stars
4/09/01 ChErRyRiPe A touching story that makes us believe all our dreams can come true no matter how difficult 4 stars
4/08/01 Hawkeye A great film- if the acting doesn't stick with you, the soundtrack will. Go see it! 5 stars
4/03/01 Lisa Great Movie. A must see! 5 stars
4/01/01 BILL BUSTER BEST MOVIE I'VE SEEN IN 10 YEARS! 5 stars
3/21/01 Jeferdi MAGNIFICA 5 stars
3/17/01 Steve Wright Wonderful example of talent transcending barriers 5 stars
3/04/01 Suzz loved it 5 stars
2/06/01 Rob One of the best movies ever made 5 stars
1/25/01 Elvisfan If you don't like this, check your pulse, you might be dead 5 stars
1/17/01 Dan Rich I really enjoyed this movie. The contrasts between ballet and violence were very astute. 4 stars
12/19/00 Mic Though cliched, those who think this movie is gay, do yourself a favour and watch it 4 stars
12/07/00 Matthew Bartley Go, Billy, go! 5 stars
12/05/00 A GREAT FILM 5 stars
11/28/00 pipeman Great little flick. 5 stars
11/15/00 basilsmom wondeful, warm and touching Jamie Bell is super 4 stars
11/14/00 Flare28 This was one of the best films of the year! 5 stars
11/14/00 Maureen Inspired me to pursue my talent. I loved this movie! Bought the soundtrack. 5 stars
11/13/00 D Pedersen Aw... how sweet 5 stars
11/10/00 spork-girl you are all just gay-dancing bashing 5 stars
11/07/00 Heather Heartwarming little movie, loved the ending and the T-REX soundtrack 5 stars
11/06/00 Sall S I hardly ever say this with confidence but this movie is a must see! Amazing. 5 stars
10/30/00 neil bartlett heart in the right place. Some inappropriate music & costuming for 198 3 . Take some tissue 4 stars
10/28/00 Rich Knock it all you want, Greg and Oz, I thought it was a great little movie. 5 stars
10/24/00 Daniel Marcusso One of the most wonderful and touching portraits of the childhood I've ever seen. 5 stars
10/22/00 Gonzo Film of the year 5 stars
10/19/00 Klute Pleasant enough, but no life-changer. 3 stars
10/11/00 John JR Absolutely brilliant - tear-jerking, Billy is amazing 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  03-Nov-2000 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Nov-2000 (M)


Directed by
  Stephen Daldry

Written by
  Lee Hall

Cast
  Julie Walters
  Jamie Bell
  Jamie Draven
  Gary Lewis
  Jean Heywood
  Stuart Wells



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