Box art for Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot

comedy, drama


Billy Elliot is the heartwarming story of a young boy from a working-class family who discovers a passion that will change his life forever.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    85%
  • Audience Score
    89%

credits

common sense

ON for kids age 14
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
2 out of 5

Terrific story of young ballet dancer has strong language.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this ultimately uplifting dramedy is rated R primarily for lanugage (an edited version was released on DVD with a PG-13 rating, but it's no longer easy to find for rental or sale) -- everyone in the movie uses terrible language all the time. There are also references to transvestism and homosexuality, some discussion of sex among young characters, and a brief glimpse of bare buttocks when one character moons another. Some teens may be upset by the way that family members treat each other -- they're insulting, neglectful, and cruel, and one parent hits a child and threatens another -- but the overall takeaway is a heartwarming one.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the stress of painful external circumstances can affect family members' ability to be kind to one other. Why was the strike so important to Billy's dad and brother? How was that like -- and not like -- the importance of ballet to Billy?
  • Why did Mrs. Wilkinson want to help Billy? Why was Billy's interest in ballet so terrifying to him? What made him change his mind? What do you think of Billy's dad's response when Billy says he's scared?
  • What does it tell us that Billy's father had never been out of Durham, and that Billy had never been to see Durham's famous cathedral?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    85%
    reviews counted: 17
    see all Billy Elliot reviews
  • Audience

    89%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Real and consequential.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh:

- David Rooney, Variety, Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fresh: The best dance film in ages.

- Jay Carr, Boston Globe, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Charming and VERY funny. The story of a boy who struggles to be his own man, even if it means sneaking off to join a girls ballet class.

- flixsterman, Saturday, November 14, 2009

4 stars

"Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it." A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family. REVIEW The much lauded and nominated film "Billy Elliott" is a slice of life flick about an 11 year old English boy who, to the dismay of his motherless working class coal mining family, chooses ballet over boxing as a pastime. The film is technically excellent, artistically well done, and follows the traditions of Hollywood film-making. The story is a pleasant mix of humor and pathos, not too deep, and palatable enough to make it an audience favorite. In addition to being just plain fun to watch, "Billy Elliot" makes a few points about accepting people for who they are; about the undeniability of innate passion by artists; and about the sublimation of aggression through dance. Kudos to the choreographer and Bell for some fun to watch and never seen before kookie, kid-like mixes of jazz, tap, ballet, and jigs.

- mrpopcorn, Thursday, October 15, 2009

2 stars

Jamie Bell is really good but he's the only reason to watch, it?s very overrated and a bit of an unfair portrayal of our friends up North. Oh, and the Middlesboro transporter bridge is in Middlesboro, not Newcastle!

- SirPant, Wednesday, September 23, 2009