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FILM: Billy Elliott

director: Stephen Daldry
cast: Gary Lewis,Jamie Bell,Jamie Draven,Julie Walters
duration: 110 minutes

Basically this is Kes with ballet and a rosy Hollywood(-ish) view of the miners' strike.

Set in 1984 during the miners' strike Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) is the story of an 11 year old boy in the North of England who'd rather do ballet than box at the local hall. The back story is that Billy's mum died a few years earlier and neither his father nor brother have ever acknowledged the pain that causes them. This may account for the fact that their accents veer around geordie and other parts north at will. The weakest parts of the film are around the miners' strike which is ultimately portrayed as a divisive event for the community, setting family member against family member rather than a political action against an unacceptable government.

If the worst scenes revolve around the grownups anything with Billy and his cross-dressing friend Michael is, as they say, worth the price of admission alone. Their relationship is portrayed as tender, confused and ultimately loving without being mawkish or sentimental.billy

The music's cracking if a bit all over the shop. Billy's brother Tony (Jamie Draven), is seemingly caught in a Marc Bolan time warp listening to T-Rex on his headphones and dansette . No wonder he hasn't got a girl-friend. The Clash's London Calling and the Jam's Town called Malice also feature.

One final thing: Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail described this as "One of the Best Films of the Year". He could have added "With the worst website imaginable" but maybe he felt out of his depth in making that call. Having battled through the multi-layers of images in the toolbarless pop-up window you may well click on a button that says "The Story". What the button doesn't tell you is the when they say "The Story" they actually mean the entire story, in minute detail, from the start to the very end. Maybe you can't bear the suspense of not knowing whether it has a happy ending - so why not find out before you go to the cinema and enjoy a tension free viewing experience.

FILM: Billy Elliot RATING: We liked it. 3 and a half FUNTS out of FIVE.


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