Billy elliot stephen daldry essay

The "I Love To Boogie" dance sequence is powerful and entertaining because it shows Billy and Sandra coming together in their teacher-student relationship and finding new ways of connecting. It also marks the moment that Billy becomes serious about dance, really taking his craft to the next level and taking his passion seriously. It is made all the more powerful by the fact that Sandra also seems to come alive in this montage, finally smiling and having fun, in contrast to her more sardonic qualities. To see Sandra and Billy dance together is to witness the unifying quality that dance has in their lives, an intergenerational connection through art.

Also, the use of music is funny in that it is anachronistic with the more formal dance style of ballet. Rex glam-rock song, and its playful, upbeat quality makes the montage powerful, heartwarming, and comic, all at once.

Billy is perceived to be gay or effeminate because of his investment in ballet, but he is not gay. Meanwhile, his best friend, Michael, is gay and hiding his more subversive relationship to gender from the world. Billy is the only person who is privy to the fact that Michael crossdresses, and eventually learns that Michael has a crush on him. Rather than getting upset about his friend's sexuality, however, Billy embraces Michael, takes him to the gymnasium to teach him ballet, and helps him put on a tutu.


  1. The Movie Billy Elliot Essay!
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Billy's sympathetic and nonjudgmental attitude towards his gay friend, even though he is in an exceedingly homophobic and skeptical community, is heartwarming, and shows us that Billy doesn't harbor the same prejudices that the older men in his life do. Sandra, as much as she believes in her star pupil, is conflicted about the fact that he does well in his audition and earns a place at the school. While it is everything she has ever wanted for him, when it actually happens, it makes her realize that he will be leaving her behind. Billy's talent gives Sandra a purpose while he is preparing for the audition, a way of escaping her own lack of fulfillment.

Belonging-Billy Elliot Essay

When he leaves, she sees that she will have to go back to things as they were—will have to face her own discontentment. Rather than feel the emotion of this departure and the pain of the abandonment, she is terse and brusque, making the transition easier for herself. Even though Billy's violent behavior at the audition seems like it may crush his chances of getting into the school, at the tail end of his meeting with the judges, one of them asks him what it feels like to dance.

This activates something in Billy, gets him in touch with his own passion, and he is able to speak honestly about what it is he loves about dancing, the visceral effect it has on his body, and the way it makes him feel like he is able to disappear and become one with the music.

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The film centres on his struggles with various forms of authority — his father, the police, the government and social gender norms. Pay special attention to the setting, props and wardrobe employed in the film. Clear contrasts are seen between the spacious dance rooms and the cramped, messy home that Billy lives in. Colour contrast is especially clear in these cases. Note the connotations that imagery within the setting can convey.

For instance, as discussed above, the connotations and presence of the mining strike posters convey the political tension. Note : Flower symbolism in visual arts has a long and varied history, but in Western traditions it has often been associated with fertility, life and sexuality. More gendered contrasts are seen in two recurring props: the boxing gloves and the feet. These are matched by the visual motifs of feet and fists. The gloves or fists evoke the violence attached to many of the male characters in the film, while the shoes or feet are often shown in moments of vulnerability or elegance — particularly for Billy.

Billy Elliot

Props are also used at important moments of tension in the film. This, after all, was foreshadowed in one of the earliest scenes of the film when his father shut the lid of the piano abruptly to keep him from play. Consider also the use of wardrobe in the film. Billy, on the other hand, is often dressed in shorts that are freer and more expressive, or — in some cases — in ballet attire. Here, Daldry uses wardrobe to convey the relationship between gender roles and aesthetics such as fashion , and how the former can arbitrarily restrict the latter.

Billy Elliot Essay Questions | GradeSaver

Various forms of authority exist in the film. For Billy, he feels the authority of his father — and the traditional gender roles that he promotes. There is also the authority of Mrs Wilkinson, which is stern yet nurturing and encouraging, and echoes the presence of his mother. However, these relationships are not simply matters of domination or rebellion.

The ending of the film suggests compromise, rather than absolute victory. For Billy, rather than overcoming his father, he manages simply to convince his father that the dancing is an important aspect of his identity. As such, there are no real antagonists in the film — at least, not in the form of characters.

Billy Elliot and Barriers - Season 2 Episode 01

Why does Daldry do this? Perhaps he wishes to demonstrate both sides of these complex experiences. Rather than focusing on one side and entirely demonising the other, he illustrates the tolls and virtues of these experiences for a wide range of people, providing a greater range of empathy and appealing to a wider base of audience experiences. These authorities are less focused on, often demonstrated in brief glimpse, yet their presence is no less important.

They drive moments of important tension in the film. These authorities are more faceless, perhaps even more sinister particularly in the case of the government , and as such they may be considered the real antagonistic forces of the film. Many of the characters are seen as products of their environment.

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Another interesting example is also provided however, in a short but important scene of the film. Though somewhat exaggerated, his outlook seems to be heavily influenced by his status as a middle-class citizen in an otherwise unprosperous region of Britain. However, Daldry does not suggest that structure controls us indefinitely. Through Billy and Michael, he displays forms of individualism that suggest that our identity comes from a more mysterious and unique source. Daldry also suggests that art plays a liberating role in our lives, allowing us to transcend the boundaries of structure or context.

For Mrs Wilkinson, dance and dance instruction allow her to escape the confines of a dissatisfying marriage. The human experience of creating or performing art is thus rendered as a noble pursuit, one which can allow an individual to achieve greater purpose and meaning in their life. Billy is ridiculed by his brother and his father, who accuse him of being a homosexual.

This is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Billy has had no feminine role model for most of his life, at least until Mrs Wilkinson takes on the role of a near-adoptive mother. Later, when Debbie offers to perform a sexual act, Billy rejects it in a matter-of-fact tone, suggesting that he does not quite line up to what Debbie expects from boys his age. They both involve expressions of identity and being through physical bodies, and as such they are both tied up in the complex politics and history of gender and behavioural norms.

Billy claims that he is not gay — a somewhat defensive comment, likely influenced by the homophobic environment he lives in — but accepts the gesture nonetheless and seems to maintain a strong bond with his friend. When analysing this film for the common module, it is critical that you link all your discussion back to notions of human experience, and to the formal features of the text. Human experiences may be collective, individual or a combination of both. They may include change or consistency.

They may have positive or negative implications. They may be political, spiritual, cultural, personal, familial or any combination of such. You may discuss the impact of certain experiences, or the reasons that they occur, or the emotions that are associated. As you can see, there is a wide array of ideas you may discuss in your essay — but it is critical that, no matter what you select, you are as specific as possible in your terminology, and as consistent as possible in your argument.

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