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Billy Elliot Essay

Explain why the idea was memorable in the text(s) as a whole, supporting your points with examples of visual and/or oral language features. ‘Billy Elliot’ is a film directed by Stephen Daldry that tells of a twelve year old boy called Billy. Raised in a working class family, Billy had always possessed a love for dancing. However, set during 1984 in the small mining town of Everington, his dream of becoming a ballet dancer proves to be difficult. His father, Jacky and brother, Tony are also involved in the miners’ strike, which puts the family in financial difficulties.

The main idea of this film is to pursue your dream and not to give up when there are obstacles in the way. Daldry uses Billy’s story to portray this as a memorable idea for the audience. At the beginning of the movie, Billy attends boxing classes at the local gymnasium. However, we see that Billy isn’t truly interested in boxing. One day when Billy stays behind at the gym, he becomes intrigued by the ballet classes held by Mrs Wilkinson. Rather than attending boxing classes, Billy begins to attend the ballet classes instead. As he spends more time learning ballet, Billy’s determination is also revealed.

An example of this is the cross-cutting technique used to show Billy practising his pirouette. The cross cutting involves several different scenes of Billy practising to get his pirouette right. Some scenes are of him in his small bathroom and some are of him losing his patience. This shows Billy’s perseverance and determination as a dancer, a dancer that will keep practising despite not having enough space at home. Other than his determination, his passion for ballet dancing is also further revealed as Billy tries to extend himself as a ballet dancer.

Daldry uses this montage to show the audience that you can get better at something with practise, even without the proper tools or environment that you are in. This was also memorable because the audience can be inspired by Billy’s determination to practise at what you love. In the film, Billy’s major obstacle is the opinion of the small mining community he lives in. Many of the people in his town believe that ballet is a feminine dance and if a male were to do ballet then he must be a ‘poof’ (homosexual).

His own father and brother also feel this way about him doing ballet. An example of the public’s opinion was right after Billy successfully completed a pirouette. Mr Braithwaite, pianist at his ballet class, tells Billy quietly, ‘You look like a right wanker if you ask me, son’. In this dialogue, Mr Braithwaite represents the public’s opinion on a male ballet dancer.

Another example is Jacky’s opinion on him doing ballet, ‘Lads do boxin’ or wrestlin’ or football… not figgin’ ballet! This reveals Billy’s major barrier to his dream because he needs to overcome the community’s opinion and most importantly his father’s opinion until he can become a ballet dancer. Billy eventually overcomes this; however, this obstacle did help make the main idea memorable. Facing public opinions is something the audience can often relate to, and Billy’s story allows the audience to feel sympathetic towards him. Despite obstacles in his way; financial difficulties and public opinion, Billy eventually gets admitted into the Royal Ballet School.

The ending is set fifteen years in advance where the audience sees Jacky and Tony travelling to London to attend a ballet concert of Swan Lake. As we see the older Billy limbering up, suspense builds as the audience are only shown the backs and limbs of older Billy. When Billy runs on to the stage performing a grand jete a freeze frame is used to capture the perfected finesse. The freeze frame effectively revealed to the audience Billy’s physique, skill and confidence the he has achieved over the past fifteen years.

Daldry uses this as the ending to show the audience that reward can be sown after determination and training. The freeze frame itself was a memorable conclusion to the film and Billy’s story, however it also serves as a memorable reminder to the audience that success can be earned with hard work and perseverance. Therefore, to conclude, Daldry has used techniques such as cross cutting, dialogue and freeze frame to help convey a memorable idea. The main idea of following your dream and overcoming obstacles.


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