Friday, August 10, 2007


The last day of my summer Humanities class is movie fun night. Film is last section of the course and we have already spent many days talking about, seeing, and analyzing the “great movies”. So it is time to see a fun movie one that we can just enjoy, and one that has no test after it is done. Ah but I’m not going to let them off that easy. The film has to do with that arts, be well made, hold a few laughs and, oh yea, be in color. This past class I choose Billy Elliot because it meets all the afore mentioned criteria and Billy’s description of what it feels like to dance is right on the money. I wanted the class to hear that.

Since this would be about the 5th time I’ve seen that movie I began to focus on other elements of the film. In particular Billy’s dad (brilliantly played by Gary Lewis). As I watched that character I could not help but to think that this is the man in the pub, the working class guy GKC talks about in What’s Wrong With The World. The film shows the mental struggles, the mistakes, the sacrifices and the pride of fatherhood. It shows a domestic kingdom in all its confused glory. And that it is through sacrifice that the love comes through and binds the family together.

When Billy wants to be a ballet dancer his dad is, to say the least, aghast, “No son of mine is going to be a poof ballet dancer!” He eventually sees his son’s talent and love for dance and does what he can to support him. Some critics have called this change of character “unrealistic” these are obviously critics that are childless. I have seen big burly men hold a great distain for women’s sports that is until their daughters start to play then they are the biggest boosters for title 9 programs you have ever seen.

I recommend this movie to you on many levels but mostly to see a great portrait of fatherhood with all its warts.

The movie does contain rough language and the “F” word so it carries an R rating.

USCCB review/rating here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed many elements of Billy Elliot, but one must note that it doesn't just make some use of the "F" word... it is liberally peppered with it. Not a film for kids, or even some adults.

Also (and this is a bit of a spoiler, so, you know, avert your eyes if you must) at the end of the movie, Billy is shown starring in an all-male version of Swan Lake, giving some pretty hefty confirmation to his father's earlier suspicions that Billy is indeed becoming a "poof ballet dancer". The film carries a notable pro-poof agenda, if I may say so. Gays are sympathetic characters, where people like Billy's father are brutes with a lesson to learn.

Other than that, a very good film, which I recommend with the above caveats.