Apparently it’s strange that I’ve never seen this before, though to be fair I don’t really think you need to, so formulaic is the plot of the boy striving to defy his father’s wishes and become a ballet dancer. Initially, the boy will accidentally experience the disapproved of skill, and show an unexpected (at least for him and the rest of the cast) flair and enjoyment for it. Knowing his family will disapprove, he’ll hide it from them, only confiding in a couple of friends and his maternal-love replacing new mentor. Inevitably, his family will discover the truth and be horrified, until they see that he is actually good at it, and more importantly it makes him happy. Begrudgingly, they will accept the path he has chosen and assist him on his way as he struggles to overcome the prejudice that comes with his working class background, until finally he is accepted by everyone. It’s this sense of by-the-numbers plotting that has maintained my distance from Billy Elliot in the past. That, and that it’s about dancing. And Northerners. The cast perform well, especially Jamie Bell as the eponymous Elliot, Julie Walters as his new mentor and Gary Lewis as his disapproving Dad, but its hard to ignore just how clichéd the whole affair is.
Choose life 6/10