Wednesday, 27 July 2011

"Billy Elliott" - Review

Last around last week - I went to London to watch Billy Elliott on Broadway, at the time I was quite aware that it was rated 15, and even though I'm very close to nearing that age - I still felt I shouldn't watch it, since I'm just barely under age. However, I got permission and approval from my parents, and it was either watching Billy Elliott or watch Shrek: The Musical - I admit that Shrek would suit my needs better.

I already saw the film Billy Elliott before watching it on Broadway, and I admit that I was pretty darn disappointed with the film in terms of character personality, really. There were some entertaining parts to the story, but the film wasn't my cup of tea to say the least. When I watched it on Broadway, it felt very slow watching it considering that I already watched the film (blame the teachers for that - they thought it was a wise idea to watch it on film before watching it on Broadway), and I admit it DID feel slow. The songs, were quite unmemorable in it (most of whom I forgotten already), and I admit I thought it was better than the movie - because the characters were better in it.

When I first saw it on Broadway, I had no idea it was based on the movie at all - and I thought it all started off from the musical. Now from what I've heard, it does make the musical unoriginal and the corny songs added to it, with some bad added dialogue in the musical. Since it's based on the movie, I'll review the movie:

Billy Elliott is a British drama film that was released in 2000. It was directed my Stephen Daldry, produced by Greg Brenman and Jon Finn, and written by Lee Hall -who wrote the whole concept of this story. The story mainly focuses in Durham, England and it's set during the 1984-1985 miner's strike in the UK and it was during the time when Margaret Thatcher was head of the Conservative Party, and when he considered closing down the mines. It was a depressing for 11-year old Billy (Jamie Bell) and his family, his older brother: Tony (Jamie Draven) and father Jackie (Gary Lewis) were miners and were out of a job, and they protested. Billy's mother died a couple of years earlier, and only a vauge memory for Billy. Billy's nan ends up living with himself, his dad and brother. She's rather old and senile, and wanted to a be a dancer when she was younger.

Billy had a strong passion for ballet all his life, and wanted to be a ballet dancer when he was older. When his father took Billy to the Sports Centre for boxing lessons. Billy has a hard time with boxing, and preferred doing ballet lessons. While he started to secretly join in ballet lessons, he struggled slightly, and his mentor was a strict, cantankerous ballet teacher named Mrs. Georgia Wilkinson (Julie Walters). One time, Billy's dad caught Billy from dancing lessons - and interrupted the ballet lesson to take Billy home immediately. Jackie [Billy's dad], who is rather outraged and worried - tries to tell Billy that ballet is for girls or boys that are "poofs", and tries to encourage him to do sports that are considered "manlier" like football, wrestling, rugby, etc. Billy rejects those options and rudely calls his Dad a "bastard", and storms out the house.

As Billy walks to Mrs. Wilkinson's house, he persuades her to try and do ballet lessons as secretly as possible - so he has some one-to-one sessions in Mrs. Wilkinson's spare time. In the meatntime, her daughter named Debbie who fancied Billy and tried to get Billy interested in her by saying, "I'll let you look at my fanny" - which is quite gross for a child to say that, and Billy never shown particular interest in her, much. She was just a minor character in the film who fancied Billy and that was it. Meanwhile, back to the plot - Mrs. Wilkinson asks Billy to bring him in some of his favourite things. Billy did come back with a few pointless stuff, and even a sweet, farewell letter from Billy's mother when he was littlle and as she read it - Billy read the letter off by heart. He also secretly stole Tony's casette album to the song We Love to Boogie. The more Billy dances, the better he got and the potential he got to join the auditions in Newcastle to apply scholarship at the Royal Ballet School.

One of Billy's friends - named Michael actually thought Billy was a "poof" since he liked ballet, and he started off wearing female's clothing at his home, and trying on makeup on Billy, and trying to convince him he's not gay. Even on a Christmas night, Michael tried to warm Billy's hands in his armpits, and kissed him on the cheek. Billy, convinced him again that he was not a homosexual, and Michael realized that he was right. Ballet is alright for anyone - and Billy kept the "kiss on the cheek" scene quiet, and not spoken.

On the day of the Newscatle audition, Billy ended up having to miss out on the audition because his dad and older brother ended up waiting in court. Mrs. Wilkinson enters the house later, furious at Jackie and Tony for their misunderstanding that Billy missed an audition, when actually Billy never said anything about it to his family, considering that he could get into trouble by them. He is ended up forced to give up forever, and Billy ends up dancing furiously, in a dance sequence.

Upon Christmas Day, when Billy and Michael were playing in the Sports Hall on Christmas, Billy does a ballet performance and Jackie enters the scene and watches Billy perform ballet for the first time, and this touches Jackie in a way because he had no idea that ballet was Billy's passion, and that he wanted to follow his dream. So, Jackie tries his best to go to the London auditions for Billy - by finding out the price from Mrs. Wilkinson (£'5000), and tries to cross the picket line in the sake of Billy's training. A few of the miners and neighbours help raise money for Billy's audition.

On the day of the audition, they arrive at London - Billy and his dad. They discuss about why his dad never went to London before, and he mentions because "they're no mines down there". Whilst arriving at the audition, Billy nervously dances in the audition and does his best -after that, the judges didn't raise anything and dismisssed him. Billy, furious from that judge's point of view becomes very upset claiming it was "a waste of time", and worried that his father payed so much money on nothing. As a fellow kid tries to comfort him, Billy physically assualted him. As Billy and his father enter the same room where Billy did his audition. They mentioned that physical violence would not be allowed, and that it was not only being a good ballet would offer you a place at the Royal Ballet School - you had to have good qualifications and academic standards in your schoolwork, and Billy was aware that he didn't do too well. The judges tells them that Billy will be informed through a letter in the next couple of ways, and says to Billy's father "Good luck with the strike".

A lettter finally arrives addressed to Billy Elliott - and as Billy reads the letter, he becomes amazed that he got a scholarship at the Royal Ballet School. His delights his father and brother very much, and are both very happy. In the meantime, the union said that the minors are being sent back to work which would be good news.

That's my review: When I first saw that film just last week - I admit that I thought that there were disappointments in it - in terms of personality wise. I really felt that the relationships between Billy and his father and brother - really lacked warmth in the film, and we only saw the warmth towards the end. I felt that he didn't see enough warmth, and that was quite sad to me. Well, I guess you can say that I'm an effectionate person. The relationship with Billy and his teacher Mrs. Wilkinson is quite strange time to time, she can be quite a bossy-boots, but also a sweet side. I didn't like her final scenes with Billy at the end - when she found out that Billy got a scholarship. She seemed rather cold from that standpoint, I suppose because he got to go to Royal Ballet School, and she was quite sad that he had to go already - and she knows that she can't teach him anymore. Also, I never ever quite understood the friendship between Billy and Michael, when he kissed Billy on the cheek - he didn't seem ticked off from that. Also, when he left home to say goodbye to Michael, he kissed him on the cheek, also.

Furthermore, I actually feel the movie is somehow similiar to Kes - my all-time favourite film. In a way, the character looks like Billy Casper from Kes, and the fact that story is about a boy with a hawk and he follows his dreams - except that his chances go very low towards the end.

There are morals in this film, the first is being a ballet dancer does not make you gay or a "poof" at all, and that's why there are famous athletes that do ballet, and they are very strong people. The second moral is to follow your dreams. If you have talent in your life, you should follow it and not spend the rest of your life doing checkouts at a supermarket (unless you think that it's fun).

No comments: