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Life in an out of business coal mining town would be very hard for all his residents. Under the rein of Thatcher’s government, chaos was exploding on to the streets of Durham, providing the perfect setting for Lee Hall’s Billy Elliot. Billy (Jamie Bell) has found away to relieve the pressure of the infamous miners strike in the 1980s, through the means of performing arts; ballet. Without the support of his father and brother, Billy confides in his ballet teacher (Julie Walters) to make him into a shining star.
We follow him through his epic journey into stardom, resulting in one of the most powerful, inspirational films of 2000.
Billy Elliot is a simple tale, fuelled by strong performances from the cast. Jamie Bell gives life to the character of Billy Elliot extraordinarily, showing a softer side beneath his defensive, hard shield he is forced to hide behind. Luckily for Billy, he has an un-usual friend he can confide in, along with his harsh but supportive ballet teacher; Mrs, Wilkinson.
Julie Walters plays a Royal Ballet school standard instructor in poverty struck town. She encourages Billy to follow his passion despite what others think.
Billy’s father (Gary Lewis) is the polar opposite of what Billy needs to help him along the way, but liberates his supportive side and takes Billy to his big audition. To the outsider, Billy Elliot would seem like a regular rough child off a deprived estate, who would typically be up to all kinds of shenanigans.
However, it is comprehensible that although he shows some aggressive characteristics, there is a lot of depth and emotion to him. You can compare Billy’s aggressiveness to that of Bullet Tooth Tony from Lock Stock, but also the insecurity to that of Edward Scissor hands.
This vibrant contrast illustrates just how will Jamie Bell plays the role, and how much promise he has to be a heart stopping actor when he matures. Billy lives in the typical housing standards for the 1980’s where his family are cramped into a house, forcing for him and his brother to share a room. This opens the modern audiences eyes to the World in which they are currently living in and how good the economy is, flowing for this they can appreciate where people have their own rooms of privacy and spaciousness.
We see Billy and his brother to have frequent arguments fuelled by tension and stress of the current times. Throughout the film, this affects Billy’s privacy in his ballet, thus making Billy having to; hide his ballet equipment under his bed; practise his twirls and stretches within his bathroom (which is itself is less spacious providing scenes of comic relief) and also to the extent of secretly having private lessons with his Ballet teacher, Mrs Wilkinson, in order to polish and perfect his art of ballet.
Moments like these throughout the film provide instances of comic relief, suspense and show the sheer determination of Billy’s character encouraging the audience adore and devote themselves to him even more. Ballet throughout the Billy Elliot showed to be Billy’s life support, with Billy not being able to continue his life without it. When Billy is performing ballet, the actions themselves are received by the audience in the forms of emotions of beauty and awe on incomprehensible scales; this was due to how the (British) audience could relate to the times, of the shunning of male ballet.
The actors; the way in which they perform ballet and the context in which they perform it (e. g. Billy in the boxing ring performing ballet shows a contradiction of male masculinity) are enacted with great sentiment and compulsion creating an amazing atmosphere. The theme of aspiration is blatantly shown and rubs off on the audience, they can see that Billy himself has aspired in the world of Ballet creating an incentive for the audience to aspire and complete their life goals no matter what anyone else thinks!
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