Welcome to Jamie Bell Week: Day 1. Today, we start where Jamie Bell is most known, and also where he really got his start in film, Billy Elliot. Not to be confused with Billy Madison, which I kept thinking of when preparing to see this movie. The two movies are nothing alike, haha. Anyways, my wife suggested this week for me, so I gladly decided to go along with it, as there were a few movies of his that I’d been meaning to check out. Some of them I needed to rewatch anyway. So we start at the beginning, but what is Billy Elliot even about?
It’s about Billy Elliot, a boy living with a poor family. They are poor because they’ve been on strike for a year, along with everyone else, during the ’84-’85 UK Miner’s strike. Even so, Billy’s father pays him 50 pence a day to go to the gym and learn to box, you know, like a MAN. You know what also practices in the gym every day? Ballet, and he wants in on some of that ballet action. So, he begins to secretly use his father’s money to pay for ballet instead of boxing. That is…until his father learns about it, which is a problem if he wants to go to a big dancing school some day.
First impressions: Now, out of all the Jamie Bell films I’ll be reviewing this week, a couple of them I didn’t really care to see – one of them being this one. The reason why comes down to the era, comes down to dancing in a ballet. It just didn’t really seem like my cop o’ tea. Believe it or not, the movie did surprise me. It was actually quite a bit charming when it comes right down to it, because it’s funny, it’s important, and it’s really easy to connect with these characters and what’s going on. So all-in-all, I think it was kind of surprising and inspirational, really.
So, let’s break the film down and talk about each and every aspect, shall we?
PEOPLE SCORE – 9/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 1|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2
First off, let’s talk about the category for people, which nearly got a perfect score. Everything in this category stood out other than the casting. I think Jamie Bell did a remarkable job in his role, but everyone else casting-wise, could have been replaced. Even so, everyone did a great job at acting in general, the characters were pretty memorable, everyone had a role to play and added to the plot, and the chemistry between everyone was really decent.
WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 1
Another nearly perfect score for the writing category. Like I said earlier, the movie itself didn’t really interest me. I can respect how it did everything almost perfectly, but I still wasn’t super invested in what was going on. The dialogue, however, was perfect. It was especially unique as they were using music in lieu of their speeches. There’s a scene where Billy Elliot freaking tap dances as a form of arguing with his father, and it is a powerful scene. I believe it’s a balanced film, the story the film is trying to tell you is about following your dreams and the value of supporting loved ones. It is also highly original.
BTS SCORE – 10/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2
Next up, we have a perfect 10/10 score for the behind-the-scenes category, because they did everything right. It’s somewhat of a visually impressive movie. Not so much in the way that you’d expect, but in different, more subtle ways, but equally as impressive. The ways in which the director tells the story is impressive, the cutting back and forth between scenes is impressive, and I consider this an as-advertised type of film. So yes, BTS gets a perfect score.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2
The narrative arc category also got a perfect score. The introduction showed us a gloomy world during this strike, and in this gloomy world, a light shined bright in Billy Elliot’s heart. Inciting incident shows us the ballet group at the gym, in which our driven Billy joins. The obstacles come down to a commitment to getting things right, and also hide it from his father, who he believes doesn’t support him. The climax is sort of emotional and satisfying, and there is a very satisfying falling action as well. Perfect score indeed.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 3/10
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 1|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impusle/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 1
Now, like I said before, I wasn’t super interested in the movie to begin with, nor was I really ever pulled into what was happening. I highly respect it for all the technical aspects it got perfectly right, but that doesn’t stop it from not being my type of movie. So yes, I consider it a rewatchable movie, but not anytime soon. I think it’s fun enough to suck an audience in for certain scenes, and not for others. I have no impulse to buy it or even really talk about it with anyone apart from this review.
TOTAL SPECIAL – 50/50
Dancing – 10|Drama – 10|Age Well – 10|Inspiration – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Here are the questions I asked before seeing Billy Elliot. I figured that it would have a lot of dancing involved, so how was that? How as the choreography and everything? Very unique and very well done. Billy Elliot is a little awkward with his dancing, but then again, he’s supposed to be, and they did a great job getting that across. How is the drama? I believe it is very dramatic in the parts it needs to be. The movie is 17 years old, does it age very well? I believe it does, yes. For the most part, it feels as relevant and as good as if it were released today. It also looks like an inspirational film, in which case I’d have to definitely say it was. Finally, was it halfway decent? Very much so.