Billy Elliot Important decisions and right ways
Written by kim cropper “Into the world” is about individuals making big decisions and choosing new pathways. They choose these by their own determination, support and experiences which allows them to break out of their cocoon and transition into a new world with different experiences. These pathways can offer us possibilities or problems. “Billy Elliot”, a film directed by Stephan Dauldry portrays the difficulties of growing up whilst dealing with a variety of social issues such as poverty, rigid gender expectations and class.
The protagonist, Billy faces these problems to gain possibilities. These problems and how they are overcome are shown in the film through the use of the motif of doors and windows, dialogue, music and close-up camera shots. The allegory of the “ugly Duckling” also serves as a motif throughout the film that parallels Billy’s transition into a “swan”. Tracey Chapman’s song “fast car” shows the difficulties of moving into new worlds and the lamentable fact that people are not always able to succeed into their transition.
The simple language and intimacy of the song, repetition and the metaphor of the “fast car” are used to convey these differing experiences of a young women’s attempt to escape from her world. Societies construct of masculinities is a problem Billy faces whilst moving into his new world. This is shown throughout the film in numerous scenes. In the “disgrace to gloves” scene, Jackie Elliot, Billy’s father says to Billy, “your a disgrace to those gloves”, the use of dialogue shows the tradition of passing down the gloves and the expectation that he will do boxing.
In the scene when Jackie first sees Billy dancing he confronts him and his use of dialogue, “boys do boxing not ballet”, shows the acceptable and expected behaviour of a male in this community. The rigid gender expectations are also shown through the dialogue when mr Braithwaite states “you look like a real wanker to me son” and when boxing coach states, “this is boxing not a bloody tea dance”. The seperation between male and female is visually represented in the boxing versus ballet sequence where the boxing realm is strictly divided from the ballet realm.
This symbolises the divide between what society finds acceptable for Billy and what Billy wishes to pursue. Billy stands at the door between the two worlds, his reflection in a mirror as he observes mrs wilkinson and her ballet class. This symbolises his unmade decision whether or not to cross over into the world of ballet. The open door symbolises the awaiting opportunities if billy crosses into that world.