Billy Elliot Movie Review
One of the most talked about movies in 2000 was Billy Elliot, a British movie about a boy who finds his place in ballet, despite the social taboos that have been placed by the mining town he lives in. It's a comedy, but it is definitely more a drama, and the result is a fairly powerful yet sometimes overrated story about love.
Even if Billy Elliot does drag in some parts, there is one thing that is quite obvious from the get go; the acting is terrific. Jamie Bell makes his debut as the young Billy Elliot, and he delivers an Oscar-worthy performance; of course, the Academy didn't think to nominate two children stars in a row (the first being Haley Joel Osmet). Bell is a normal kid who has fun with what he does, but at the same time, through facial expressions more than anything else, we can see the struggle that he has to deal with, considering his dad's unemployment and unwillingness to let him proceed with ballet. Gary Lewis is also wonderful as the dad, who obviously loves his kids but at the same time has more pressing matters to worry about.
Billy Elliot is good in that it manages to keep itself funny and entertaining while at the same time going deeper and deeper into the dramatic side, dealing with a 1984 mining strike and the picket lines. The Elliot family is having trouble staying together, and surviving, but at the same time there is always a bright light somewhere that doesn't keep the film too darkly lit, like in Angela's Ashes. The movie is entertaining the whole way through.
The only problem that Billy Elliot has is that it is overrated. Many critics picked this movie as a top contender, and its popularity in Great Britain especially built some hype. The thing is that Billy Elliot is a really good movie, but it isn't great. There isn't anything extraordinary about it. It is sometimes too comical to be a serious film, and never stays serious long enough to be taken completely seriously. There are other movies with similar themes (October Sky, which is actually recommended on the DVD of Billy Elliot) that do the job better.
Again, there is nothing wrong with Billy Elliot, except that it is over hyped. It is a good movie and that is all.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.