Billy Elliott

Bomb Rating: 

One set of understanding parents, and the whole universe of British feelgood filmmaking is down the toilet.

"Billy Elliott" is to independent British filmmaking what "Charlie's Angels" and "The Beverly Hillbillies" are to Hollywood: formulaic trash. Just exactly how many movies do we need about a small town in England where life is simple and one or more people want to do something a little bit odd, thus opening whole new worlds for the entire town and illustrating that life isn't just about working in the mines or milking the cows?

Among the many things that appeared to have changed all manner of life in Britain: Playing in a band, smoking marijuana, and male strippers. Now, it's boy ballet dancers. Notice that "Billy Elliott" is exactly the opposite of "Girlfight"? The former is about a boy who doesn't want to box and takes up dancing. The latter is about a girl who doesn't want to dance and takes up boxing. Nobody's family is happy about it. What a shock, huh? I mean, one set of understanding parents, and the whole universe of British feelgood filmmaking is down the toilet.

Billy (Jamie Bell) discovers that he loves to dance and starts taking lessons in secret from an instructor (Julie Waters). Naturally, he does this in secret because if his father (Gary Lewis) finds out, he'll flip. Why will he flip? Because his father is just a simple miner and can't comprehend that his son might be interested in dancing or that it doesn't automatically involve having sex with other boys. Frankly, with the number of these goofy British films that have been released in the past few years, you'd think miners would be lining up all over the countryside with their kids dressed in tutus knowing that the opportunity to deviate from the norm will make their bassackwards town a better place to live.

If the simple fact that we have to watch Billy jump around like a hyperactive monkey weren't bad enough, there's this added element of homosexuality floating throughout the film. Billy's best friend is a cross-dressing homosexual at 12. The only reason this is in the film is so every bone-headed idiot who doesn't grasp the idea of individuality can ruminate on the gender-specific qualities society applies to certain activities and think that, wow, maybe not every dancer is gay and maybe not every regular-looking child is straight. Too bad "Billy Elliott" wasn't about a 12-year-old who wants to be a dentist. Now that would have brought chaos to the English countryside.

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