A boy, man or female who pursues an unlikely “gender-bending” occupation, one that most people believe (mistakenly or not) is reserved for the opposite sex, is fraught with all sorts of radical feminist, Marxist and even homosexual connotations these days. That’s the case with the new movie, BILLY ELLIOT, about an 11-year-old English lad in coal mine country who decides to abandon the boxing tradition of the men in his family for that of ballet.
Starring 13-year-old newcomer Jamie Bell in the title role, the movie tells how 11-year-old Billy’s recently widowed father Jackie and his brother Tony are on strike from their jobs in the coal mines in 1984 Northeast England under conservative anti-communist Margaret Thatcher. Billy, of course, misses his mother dreadfully, and his dad struggles to make ends meet as Thatcher’s government allegedly refuses to meet any of the miners’ terms. With his dad’s mind on finances and Billy’s brother, Tony, treating him like a terrible nuisance, Billy’s only comfort is his school friend Michael.
One day during boxing lessons at the local boy’s club, Billy looks longingly at the girls doing ballet under the chain-smoking attentions of their teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson (played by Oscar nominee Julie Walters of EDUCATING RITA and the recent TITANIC TOWN). After a friendly invite from the teacher’s daughter, Debbie, Billy joins the dancers. He likes it so much that, instead of using the money from his dad for the boxing lessons, he uses it to pay for ballet lessons from Mrs. Wilkinson. In short order, this dynamic woman soon believes that Billy is good enough to try out for the Royal Ballet in London. When Billy’s father finds out about the ballet, however, he is extremely displeased . . . not only by Billy’s deception but also by the very idea of his son taking up a profession which he thinks is designed only for girls and men filled with perverted homosexual lust. Billy tries to break through the walls of his father’s prejudice and his own doubts and fears.
In many ways, BILLY ELLIOT is a poignant and often humorous family drama. The filmmakers tell this interesting story well, and the acting by all parties, especially Jamie Bell as Billy, Gary Lewis as the father and Julie Walters as the ballet teacher, is excellent. Although the movie does not treat Billy’s deception concerning his poor father’s hard-earned money harshly enough, strong family values eventually win out in the end. The relationship between Billy and his father (and between Billy and Tony) grows to becomes quite moving and uplifting. The movie also shows the strong positive bond between Billy and his maternal grandmother, who’s a bit senile but lucid enough to know what Billy’s dancing really means to him.
These family situations lie at the heart of this well-produced movie, which chugs along rather nicely, especially in the entertaining, original dance numbers. They are somewhat derailed, however, by much strong foul language and by the movie’s Marxist political correctness.
Concerning the latter, BILLY ELLIOT clearly sides with the idea that government-run coal mines are a good idea and that the government therefore should be very generous in pay and benefits for the miners in such mines, even if the mines don’t earn enough profit. Furthermore, although ballet is admittedly a perfectly acceptable profession for a man or a woman, the filmmakers use this issue to subtly but firmly attack traditional notions of masculinity. They also use it to present a pro-homosexual message.
For example, Michael, Billy’s school friend, turns out to be a latent homosexual. This idea of “sexual orientation” is a completely fanciful psychological theory that politically correct Marxists, feminists and “hommosexual” activists have foisted on the world’s society for the last few years. These radical leftists have done so in many ways, including very subtle ones that only someone who’s firmly, intelligently and vigilantly grounded in a traditional biblical worldview can discern. Not only does Michael turn out to be a latent homosexual, he also shows up one day wearing a dress when Billy comes to visit Michael at his house. Michael informs Billy that Michael’s own father secretly wears dresses himself, implying that Michael has been spying on his own dad. Michael is clearly attracted to Billy and gives him a girlish peck on the cheek in one scene. The movie, however, remains ambiguous about Billy’s own sexuality, though it seems to imply that Billy likes girls rather than boys.
Despite its Marxist humanist connotations, the dominant worldview in BILLY ELLIOT seems to be a romantic one. The characters are essentially good and noble, and it is their social environment (the traditions of free market Christianity) that corrupts them. It is that harsh social environment that leads to the prejudices of Billy’s dad, the poor treatment of the miners and Billy’s own doubts and fears. The premise of the movie implies that talent and hard work can overcome the harsh injustice of one’s social environment. In the end, it is Billy’s talent and hard work, with the help of his ballet teacher and the approval of his grandmother and his friend, Michael, that help Billy achieve his dreams of escaping his environment and finding a better life. Billy’s talent and hard work also make it possible for Billy’s dad to have the pride in his son that, deep inside, he so desperately wants to have. Of course, the connection both Billy and his father share is the warm spirit of Billy’s mother, who figuratively hovers over this story. Thus, transcendental moral values and family bonds help BILLY ELLIOT hold its Marxist roots and homosexual chic at bay in the final part of the movie. Otherwise, this movie would have become a completely unacceptable, offensive piece of work.
(RoRo, B, C, PCPC, Acap, Ho, LLL, VV, N, A, D, MM) Romantic worldview of working class boy overcoming social obstacles to pursue his dreams, with moral & redemptive elements concerning his clash & ultimate reconciliation with his father, marred by politically correct anti-capitalist moments & politically correct references to homosexuality & cross-dressing; 68 mostly strong obscenities & 7 profanities; angry strike rallies with eggs thrown at bus & strike riots with police chasing & beating one man in one scene; no sex implied or depicted but young friend of 11-year-old hero is homosexual cross-dresser who kisses him on the cheek in one scene & boy visits teacher’s daughter, who lightly strokes his cheek in one romantic scene; upper male nudity in naturalistic contexts; alcohol use; smoking; and, deception, stealing, rebellion, arguments, spying on one’s parent, & talking back.
Young newcomer Jamie Bell stars in BILLY ELLIOT, a movie about a working class 11-year-old boy in England who discovers he has a talent for ballet dancing. His coal-mining, recently widowed father, however, is too busy feeding the family and taking part in a strike at the local government-run mine to take much notice of Billy’s needs. When he finds out about the ballet, the father becomes worried that his son is taking up a profession which he thinks is designed only for girls and men filled with perverted homosexual lust. Billy tries to break through the walls of his father’s prejudice and his own doubts and fears.
BILLY ELLIOT in many ways is a poignant and often humorous family drama. Family situations lie at the heart of this well-produced, well-acted movie, which chugs along rather nicely, especially in the entertaining, original dance numbers. Jamie Bell in the title role is a true find. All of these positive aspects are somewhat derailed, however, by much strong foul language and by the movie’s Marxist political correctness. That irrational, evil philosophy promotes a pro-homosexuality ideology that appears at times in the story