‘Billy Elliot’ triumphs at the Orpheum this weekend
Inside each one of us is a dream waiting to come out.
Have you ever had a wish or a desire or a destiny that shouted to get out? A dream that no one in your family or your neighborhood could see a value in pursuing. This is the story or the theme of this weekend’s film at the Orpheum Theater Center. “Billy Elliot” is the name of the film and of the main character. Billy is an 11-year-old boy whose father is a miner and whose brother is a miner and whose ancestors were all miners. The movie starts with Billy – like his brother before him and his father and his grandfather – taking boxing lessons. Billy has no desire to be a boxer and basically isn’t good at it, but this is what the men in the Elliot family do and then they go and work in the mines. One day Billy is left in charge of the gym to give the keys to the lady who is teaching ballet following boxing lessons. As Billy watches, he is immediately drawn to the movement and the rhythm of the ballet. The teacher notices his interest and encourages his involvement. Billy knows that his family will not support his interest in dancing; therefore, he must pretend that he is still going to boxing lessons as he sneaks off to dance.
This movie is really fun to watch. Young Jamie Bell is outstanding as the young Billy whose joy for dancing is expressed realistically in Jamie’s expressions and carefree style of dance. Jamie himself is a perfect example of a boy who loves ballet. It isn’t the accepted activity even in Jamie’s real life, which he talks about in the extra material on the DVD. All of the characters are outstanding: his teacher, played wonderfully by Julie Walters; his father, played by Gary Lewis; and his brother, played by Jamie Dravan. The relationships between Jamie and all of the adults in this film is outstanding. Even Billy’s young friends are unique. It’s fun to see their interrelations.
The only trouble I had with the film was the British accent. It is difficult to understand the actors at times. The movie is rated PG-13, definitely because of the language. If you can understand it, they use many four letter words quite a bit. I suppose this use of language is to support the “working class” behavior of the main characters. On a trip that my wife and I took to the UK a few years ago, we noticed that they do use a lot of that same language on the streets of the UK. It doesn’t seem to have the same stigma there that we place on the profane language in the United States.
This movie will move you to tears of happiness and triumph. Bring your Kleenex to the Orpheum and check out “Billy Elliot.” You may not understand some of the conversations, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy the film.
The show times are 7 p.m. on Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Visit the theater for tours and check out all of the Iowa related memorabilia. Call the Orpheum Theater Center movie hotline at 641-844-5907 or visit www.orpheumcenter.com
Tom LaVille is a retired Marshalltown drama and literature teacher. LaVille’s Critic’s Corner column appears Friday in the Times-Republican.