Go your own way.
Billy Elliot is a movie that warms the heart. In the intro we see the eleven years old Billy jump up into the air while the song Cosmic Dancer is playing with this line: I was dancing when I was twelve: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMfjA4gyEcU/ . A very promising start.
Music plays an important role in this positive story in a rather hard situation in the North of England (Durham County). It is 1984 and the miners are on strike. Billy’s father and brother are strikers, too, and only get a little money from the union. Billy’s beloved mother doesn’t live anymore. Billy sometimes to her grave with his grannie, who also lives in the small house in a typical workingclass neighbourhood. She usually lies on the sofa and needs to be taken care of. She doesn’t remember a lot of things anymore but she stills knows that she could have been a professional dancer. It is wonderful to hear the Northern English dialect.
The movie starts when Billy is having his weekly boxing lessons. In the same hall there are ballet lessons for the girls in their tutu’s. He is not so good in his sport so his teacher tells him to keep on hitting the big bag and to give the key of the hall to the balletteacher Georgia when he is finished. Billy hears the piano and hits the bag in the rhythm of the music. Slowly but definitely he moves towards ballet.
It is very nice to see the process in which he looses his resistance towards ballet. His father is not so quick in overcoming his reluctance. Billy has got talent and is practising in secret with the continiously smoking Georgia ballet teacher (Julie Waters) for his admittance to the Royal Ballet School in London see photo).
Jamie Bell plays his role very well, he carries Billy in his heart. He is a good example of a boy who wants to live his own life, who goes his own way, without becoming inconsiderate to others. When he is angry and frustrated he starts to dance fiercely. A queer boy is his class likes Billy, but he succeeds in keeping distance between them without becoming rude. When he finally leaves for London Billy gives him a kiss.
There is a lot of humor in the movie. After his audition the jury asks him about his ballet ideas and his motivation, but Billy cannot say much about it. Then they ask his father about his ideas and he says he is not an ballet expert. They are just working class people.
Music supports this movie in a wonderful way. It is great to see Billy dance with Georgia on I love to Boogie . I especially liked the typically sound from the eighties by The Clash with London Calling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lotkzHsIuoA/
This movie, based on the screenplay by Lee Hall, could have been made by Ken Loach, who always combines cultural and political themes with personal conflicts and who sometimes makes his movies in the North of England. I am glad there are more movie makers like him. This was Daldry’s first film. Later on he made The hours about Virginia Woolff.
A friend that accompagnied me to the theatre said afterwards that the movie was very well fit for in a plane. She meant it was a movie for a large audience like in a plane flight. It said to her that she was right because sometimes it was a bit sentimental. Especially the role of the dead mother in the background let tears come easily. But maybe that last caracteristic of this movie - that it is fit for different people, older and younger - makes it even more worthwhile: a popular movie with a great message.
The movie was transformed into a musical in 2005 and had his première in London. In 2012 the musical will be performed in the circustheatre in Scheveningen, Holland, under supervision of Joop van den Ende.