The recent arrival of Billy Elliot The Musical on Broadway (I have tickets in early December) prompted me to take another look at the beloved 2000 film on which the show is based. I’m happy to report that the movie is just as wonderful as I remembered. Set in northeast England in 1984, in a hopeless mining village during a prolonged miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is about an 11-year-old boy (Jamie Bell) who finds something beautiful in his grimy world: the transformative power of dance. Whether angry and frustrated or passionate and joyful, Billy discovers dance as an outlet for, and expression of, his feelings.
In the film’s standout sequence, Billy’s disapproving father catches Billy dancing. Instead of defending himself verbally, Billy launches into a spontaneous dance of defiance, a thrilling declaration of identity. I’m hoping that this soaring feel-good drama translates into an equally triumphant musical.