When I first began to watch Billy Elliot, I was expecting to see an uplifting, touching film. I was expecting it to have every cliche in the book, but I thought it would perhaps touch me. The last thing I was expecting, was too see a film with about as much humanity as Affliction.
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The best word to describe Billy Elliot is ugly. The film is way too dark for what it is. There are scenes in the film that are bursting with sweetness, and other scenes that are just mean. Now, I like dark films, but for a film like Billy Elliot, it's just uncalled for.
The story is about a boy named Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell), and his love for dancing. He didn't always want to be a dancer, he was first interested in boxing. But sooner or later, he gets hooked on ballet. Julie Walters plays the woman who instructs Billy in his dancing.
So far so good. This could have been an enjoyable film, having scenes just involving the boy and the teacher. But that is not the case. The film has a dark underbelly to it.
Billy lives at home, with his Father, his Brother, and his Grandmother. The father (Gary Lewis(III)) and the brother (Jamie Draven) are two of the most unlikable characters you could ever meet. They are mean and almost downright abusive.
The film has way too much hostility built up inside it. There are countless scenes in the film that are not necessary, and do nothing but make you dislike the major characters in the film. There are many scenes that show the father and brother on strike at their job. This could have been shown once to get the point, but it's shown four or five times. It does nothing for the narrative flow.
Ultimately, Billy Elliot is a mess of a film. It doesn't know if it wants to be a charming comedy such as The Fully Monty, or a film about monsters and their emotional abuse to children, such as Nil By Mouth. When you pour oil into a lake, it eventually spreads, and the entire lake becomes contaminated. The same goes for Billy Elliot, the ugly scenes may be few and far between, but they leave a terrible taste in your mouth, and they end up ruining the entire film.
There are many enjoyable scenes in the film that I found my self grinning at. The scenes with Jamie Bell and Julie Waters are the best one's in the film. The two have a chemistry between each other, and it is a treat to watch them dance and enjoy themselves. The most touching aspect
of the film, is between Billy and his best friend, who happens to be a homosexual. The scenes are perfectly innocent, and are quite poignant.
There are way too many scenes that will you make you dislike the characters. Forgiveness is something that seems to come easy to the characters in the film. One minute the father and the brother are acting terribly to Billy. Not just to Billy, but there is a scene in the film where the brother does everything but assault Billy's instructor. He calls her some of the filthiest names in the book, and he gets away with it like it never happened. Within ten minutes, the father and brother are cheering Billy on, and totally supporting him. I thought one of them was going to stand up and cheer, "We're a family again! All because of you Billy! You and those magical dancing feet!". It wouldn't have surprised me. Billy might be able to forgive his father and brother for putting him through hell, but I can not.
Not only is Billy's family despicable, but at the end of the film Billy commits an act, that is so uncalled for, and so juvenile, that he ultimately becomes the biggest loser in the film. I wasn’t rooting for Billy, no not at all. I wanted Billy to fail. I wanted Billy to fail as much as his brother and father failed. At the end of the film, I could give a damn Billy Elliot, and his love for dancing.
I'm frankly surprised how much people loved this film. I really wanted to like it, really I did. I just can't. It's too unsettling, and is not called for. If I wanted to watch a film about bitter families and the ugliness of human nature, I'll watch Nil By Mouth, or Requiem For A Dream. Not this inflamed sore that is Billy Elliot.
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