Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
United Kingdom/France, 2000. StudioCanal, Working Title Films, BBC Films, Arts Council of England, Tiger Aspect Productions, WT2 Productions. Screenplay by Lee Hall. Cinematography by Brian Tufano. Produced by Greg Brenman, Jonathan Finn. Music by Stephen Warbeck. Production Design by Maria Djurkovic. Costume Design by Stewart Meachem. Film Editing by John Wilson.
Those who are expecting the hilarious comedy in the vein of Four Weddings and a Funeral that is promised on the posters for this film will be severely shocked to see that they have been misled; shocked, but by no means disappointed, as it is a beautiful and poignant tale of a young man whose dreams are just too big for the sleepy town around him. Billy (an astonishingly good Jamie Bell) lives in northern England and one day is captivated during boxing practice when a girls’ ballet class shares the same gym his team is using. When he is accidentally invited to dance with the young ladies, he finds himself unable to suppress his desire to release all the power inside him brought out by his new passion. Julie Walters is excellent as the teacher who guides Billy through his burgeoning self-discovery, a role that showcases her better on this side of the ocean than any since Lewis Gilbert’s Educating Rita, and Gary Lewis is equally brilliant as the ex-boxing champion father, now a miner on strike, who just can’t understand the new direction his son has taken. The film is rich with emotion and endearing characters, plus features fantastic choreography and always manages to be touching without ever resorting to sentimental treacle.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Julie Walters); Best Director (Stephen Daldry); Best Original Screenplay
European Film Award Nominations: Best European Film; Best European Actor (Jamie Bell); Best European Actress (Julie Walters)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Supporting Actress (Julie Walters)
Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations: Outstanding Motion Picture Cast; Best Actor (Jamie Bell); Best Supporting Actress (Julie Walters)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2000