Billy Elliot (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

Review byMatthew Turner18/10/2000

Five out of five stars

Terrific, unmissable, feel-good British film with an incredible central performance from newcomer Jamie Bell.

Eleven-year old Billy Elliot (Bell) is growing up without a mother in a northern mining town in 1984. His grandmother is senile and his Dad (the excellent Gary Lewis) and older brother (Jamie Draven) are both out on strike, so when Billy switches from boxing class to Mrs Wilkinson’s (Julie Walters) ballet class, he decides he’d better keep it to himself.

That is until Mrs Wilkinson decides Billy has a shot at a place in the Royal Ballet School…

This is a joy from beginning to end, from the slow-motion opening shots of Billy bouncing on his bed, to the inevitable will-he-make-it ballet school audition.

There are elements of many other films here (Kes, The Full Monty, Brassed Off), but it’s to Daldry’s credit that he never makes the film seem derivative, with even the most clichéd scenes being presented in unexpected and original ways.

Young Jamie Bell (actually 13 when filming) is simply incredible, and for once, the film deserves its hype: it’s funny, with a wonderful supporting cast (Stuart Wells and Nichola Blackwell as Billy’s two best friends steal every scene they’re in), but, perhaps most surprisingly of all, the dancing actually works – the scene where Billy angrily dances to The Jam’s A Town Called Malice is one of the film’s many highlights.

In short, this is a pure delight - don’t rule out a bunch of Oscar nominations next year (you heard it here first).

Highly recommended, and bring your friends!

Film Trailer

Billy Elliot (15)
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Content updated: 21/07/2018 20:41

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