BILLY ELLIOT
(Dir. Stephen Daldry 2000)

This is not a bad film. It is a good film. It tells the story of a boy from Durham who discovers that he has a love and talent for ballet, and how he develops this against the background of the miner's strike. The acting is good, and the story is pleasing enough. It is, however, one of the most cliché-ridden films you are ever likely to see.

Here are some of the things I have had confirmed about the world, by seeing Billy Elliot:

1. All northern fathers disapprove of anything their sons do which they themselves did not do.

2. All confrontations between sons and fathers lead to blows.

3. All pillows, even in the houses of the poor, are new feather pillows, and burst very easily. Those involved in the bursting do not see this as a bad thing, and carry on swinging the pillow, scattering clean white feathers all over the room. No one minds, and this is easily cleared up.

4. All failed attempts to execute a ballet move end in the person making the attempt's falling over.

5. All put-upon struggling characters win through in the end.

6. All toasters launch burnt toast three feet in the air.

7. All little girls practice ballet, even when doing just basic techniques at the bar in a filthy gym, while wearing dazzling white tutus and their best white ballet shoes.

8. All bereaved people have graves in cemeteries to visit, and they do this every week.

9. It always snows on Christmas day, even in Britain in the 1980s.

10. All stories involve at least one homosexual character.

11. All tough guys break down in tears at some point.

12. All doors, when kicked down, will break at the lock and both hinges simultaneously.

13. All important letters from far away have very clear post marks on them.

14. When arriving in the presence of someone who is going to work a person hard in the future (e.g. a trainer), that person will always be in striking silhouette, very strongly back-lit, in a huge dark room, and they will be smoking. They will always pause for an age before speaking.

15. All middle and upper class people will treat working class people with disgust, and sneering contempt.

16. All policemen are faceless and brutal.

17. All tough northerners say "Fook off!" all the time.

18. All films set in the late 20th century must feature at least one space hopper.

19. Someone trained exclusively in ballet will suddenly turn into an excellent tap dancer.

20. It's grim up north.

Watch the film for a distraction for a couple of hours. Do not expect it to change your life. It won't.



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