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"BILLY ELLIOT"
(2000) (Jamie Bell, Julie Walters) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Heavy Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Heavy Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Despite facing various levels of conflict as well as sexual stereotyping, an 11-year-old British boy follows his dream of becoming a ballet dancer in mid-1980s England.
PLOT:
Billy Elliot (JAMIE BELL) is an 11-year-old boy growing up in the coal-mining town of Durham, England in 1984. With his mother dead for less than a year and his father, Jackie (GARY LEWIS) and older brother, Tony (JAMIE DRAVEN), on strike against the local coal company, Billy spends his time caring for his grandmother (JEAN HEYWOOD) or in the boxing gym with coach George Watson (MIKE ELLIOT).

It's there one day that he spots Mrs. Wilkinson (JULIE WALTERS) and her ballet class. Immediately drawn to the dance form, Billy eventually joins Mrs. Wilkinson's young daughter, Debbie (NICOLA BLACKWELL), in the class, but doesn't tell anyone in his family. Despite not being very good, Billy perseveres, with his instructor sensing an innate talent buried somewhere within him.

At home, things aren't going as well. The tension among the family members is ripe and that explodes when Jackie learns of Billy's recent activities and even goes so far as to question his son's sexuality, a point that would have added weight if he knew that his son's platonic friend, Michael (STUART WELLS), was an apparently gay transvestite.

As the coal miners' strike continues and various "scabs" cross the picket line, Billy continues with his training, hoping to gain an audition one day with the Royal Ballet School, all while confronting various levels of internal and external obstacles that stand in his way.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or dance-related movies, it doesn't seem likely that many kids will want to see it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JAMIE BELL plays an 11-year-old who finds that he's passionate about ballet and decides to pursue it despite various inner and external obstacles along the way. He occasionally has a bad attitude (somewhat a result, it seems, of his mother dying a year earlier) and uses some strong profanity.
  • JULIE WALTERS plays Billy's ballet coach who smokes throughout the film and uses some strong profanity while trying to inspire him to be the best that he can be.
  • GARY LEWIS plays Billy's initially emotionally cruel father (due, in part, to his wife's death a year earlier) who smokes, uses strong profanity and supports the worker's strike against the coal company. He later changes his ways, however, and supports Billy's efforts and dream.
  • JAMIE DRAVEN plays Billy's older brother who's also on strike from the coal mines with his father. He seems irritated most of the time, had a bad attitude toward everyone, and uses strong profanity (although he too changes toward the end of the film).
  • STUART WELLS plays Billy's young, transvestite friend who appears to be gay.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is rated as extreme due to the use of more than 50 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some non-explicit, sexually related talk occurs between a prepubescent boy and girl, another boy is a transvestite and seems to be gay, while we briefly see a man's bare butt from a distance as he moons others.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including various family members who are mean or disrespectful to the title character (due, in part, to the family still dealing with the mother dying a year earlier). Some characters are on strike against a coal mining company, and some police on protestor violence occurs, as does some other non-graphic punching and slapping.

    Certain characters smoke (totaling a heavy amount) and others drink (with a few appearing a bit intoxicated), while a few instances of behavior that might be imitated are also present. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home after that summary, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see some liquor in the background of a scene set in Mrs. Wilkinson's place and her husband has a drink. Their daughter later states that her father drinks too much.
  • Michael brings a bottle of booze over for himself and Billy, who takes a swig but then spits it out. Michael then tells him that he'll get used to it.
  • We see some men drinking and some of them appear drunk.
  • Mrs. Wilkinson and her husband have drinks.
  • Various miscellaneous men drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Tony's father punches him, drawing some blood from his nose.
  • A man urinates outside and we see the urine stream.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Tony seems to have a perpetual bad attitude toward everyone and everything.
  • Billy sees that someone has spray painted graffiti on his mother's headstone.
  • Billy steals a ballet book from a mobile library.
  • Billy's dad doesn't support his wishes to participate in ballet (saying that it's for girls and not boys) and somewhat questions his sexuality.
  • We learn that Mrs. Wilkinson's husband had an affair sometime in the past.
  • Billy curses at Mrs. Wilkinson in anger/frustration. Later, and edgy/nervous about some ballet auditions, he ends up punching another student who was just trying to be friendly.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as unsettling or suspenseful.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Due to some strong accents, it's possible that other colorful phrases exist in addition to what's listed here -- Phrases: "F*ck off," "For f*ck's sake," "F*cking hell," "F*ck you," "What the f*ck are you looking at/doing?" "F*cked up," "Who the f*ck are you?" "Stop being an old f*cking woman," "Sanctimonious bullsh*t," "You little twat," "Freaking," "Bollocks," "Shut up," "Puffs/puffer" (effeminate/gay men), "Wanker," "Yes you bloody well do," "Busting my ass," "Bastard," "Pissed" (for drunk and urinated), "Piss off' and "Shut it."
  • A man briefly moons the police (we see his bare butt from a distance).
  • Some protestors throw eggs at a bus.
  • Some girls have a pillow fight.
  • Tony spits on a police car.
  • It looks as if Tony playfully gives Billy "the finger."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • Due to some strong accents, it's possible that more profanity exists than is what's listed here. That said, we heard at least 52 "f" words, 8 "s" words, 5 slang terms using female genitals ("tw*t"), 2 hells, 1 ass, 1 crap, 1 bollocks, 1 wanker, 2 uses each of "Christ" and "For God's sakes" and 1 use each of "God" and "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A man briefly moons the police (we see his bare butt from a distance).
  • Billy asks Debbie (Mrs. Wilkinson's young daughter) why her parents sleep in separate beds and she replies that it's so that they can't have sex. Billy asks why and Debbie replies it's because her father had sex with a woman from work and that her parents don't think she knows that. After Billy asks about her mother and sex, Debbie then goes on to say that her mother is unfulfilled and that she has dancing instead of sex.
  • We learn that Billy's friend Michael is a young transvestite (we see him wearing his sister's dress) and it sounds like he states that his father does it all of the time as well.
  • Debbie tells Billy that she'll show him her "fanny" if he wants (he declines the offer).
  • On a cold day, Michael takes Billy's hands and puts them down inside the front of his pants. Billy, who questions whether Michael is a "puffer" (homosexual), asks if his hands are cold and Michael states that he kind of likes it. Michael then kisses Billy on the cheek and Billy tells him that just because he likes ballet doesn't mean he's gay. Michael then asks Billy not to tell anyone about him.
  • SMOKING
  • Mrs. Wilkinson smokes at least 10 times, while her piano player smokes several times. Jackie smokes more than 5 times, while Tony smokes once and various miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Billy's mother died a year or so before the story begins (he and his grandmother visit her grave, he later reads a letter from her and even later imagines seeing her talking to him in their kitchen). Later, Tony tells their father that ever since their mother died, he (the father) has been useless.
  • Billy tells his father that he hates him when his father forbids him to partake in any more ballet (and his father then grabs and pushes Billy up against a wall in reaction).
  • Tony and his father have a fight.
  • We learn that Mrs. Wilkinson's husband had an affair sometime in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Billy's pursuit of his dreams despite the obstacles (physical and personal, etc.) standing in his way.
  • Others' beliefs that men or boys participating in ballet are automatically gay.
  • Unions and strikes.
  • We learn that Mrs. Wilkinson's husband had an affair sometime in the past and Billy and Debbie then briefly talk (non-graphically) about some related sexual matters.
  • We learn that Billy's friend Michael is a young transvestite (we see him wearing his sister's dress) and it sounds like he states that his father does it all of the time as well.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A person hits Billy with some rolled up reading material.
  • Some boxing related violence is present (people being punched).
  • There's some pushing between police and protestors and eggs are thrown at (and hit) a bus.
  • Tony and his dad confront a "scab" and then push over a shopping cart.
  • After Billy tells his father that he hates him, the father grabs and pushes Billy up against a wall.
  • Tony's father punches him, drawing some blood from his nose.
  • Mrs. Wilkinson slaps Billy after he curses at her in anger/frustration.
  • Police chase after some protestors, knocking other people over in the process.
  • Tony throws a glass cup to the floor.
  • Police hit Tony with their billy clubs.
  • While dancing in anger, Billy kicks a door.
  • Jackie takes a sledgehammer to the family piano (to use the latter as firewood).
  • We see police struggling with protestors again.
  • Billy punches another male dance student.



  • Reviewed August 23, 2000 / Posted October 20, 2000

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