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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Tale of Redemption and the Father-Son Dynamic, April 26, 2002
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
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!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2008 11:20:18 PM PST
Lunazen says:
"Even Russell Crowe - who won the 2000 BAFTA and Oscar for "Gladiator" - admitted Bell deserved the BAFTA Prize instead. "

Actually, Bell did win the BAFTA for his role in Billy Elliot, in 2001.
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Location: Yonkers, NY USA

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