When eleven-year-old Billy stumbles across a local ballet class that comes to share the village hall with his boxing club, something in the magic of the movements captures his imagination, and he's soon ditching his boxing gloves to sneak in at the back of Mrs. Wilkinson's lessons. With a sharp eye for talent, Mrs. Wilkinson's zest for teaching is revived when she sees Billy's potential. Rather forgetting the other ballerinas, she's drawn into teaching her raw new protégé. Meanwhile, Billy's father and older brother Tony - both on strike - struggle to put food on the fable. Their pent up frustrations finally explode when they discover Billy has been squandering his boxing money on less than manly pursuits. Banned from ballet, troubled by the escalating senile behaviour of his grandma, and missing his recently dead Mum more than ever, Billy' s relationship, with school friend Michael deepens into a touching friendship, while new pal Debbie, daughter of Mrs. Wilkinson, awakens frightening, but not unpleasant, feelings in Billy.
Mrs. Wilkinson eventually persuades Billy to accept private training, for free, telling him she wants him to audition for the Ballet School. The emotions released in their intensive routines nearly break the both of them, but when the day of the audition comes, Billy is tragically forced to miss it as a result of Tony's scuffle with the police. Taking matters into her own hands, Mrs. Wilkinson calls on Billy's father to explain the extraordinary chance his son is missing, but is thrown out by an irate Tony, much to Billy's humiliation.
Distraught by his family's lack of understanding, Billy unleashes his feelings in a dance meant only for Michael to see, but is caught mid-routine by his father. Rooted to the spot by the power and animation of his son's talent, he solemnly agrees to ensure Billy gets another chance by auditioning in London. With support from the other miners, Billy and his Dad finally make it to London for the gruelling audition, returning home to anxiously await the ballet school's decision.
Fifteen years later, Dad, Tony and Michael watch with pride as the curtain rises an Billy's premiere leading role in London's West End.
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Written by: Lee Hall
Produced by: Greg Brenman, Jon Finn
Cinematography: Brian Tufano
Editing: John Wilson
Production Design: Maria Djurkovic
Costume Design: Stewart Meacham
Make-Up & Hair: Ivana Primorac
Original Score: Stephen Warbeck
Main Cast: Jamie Bell (Billy), Jean Heywood (grandma), Jamie Draven (Tony), Gary Lewis (dad), Stuart Wells (Michael), Julie Walters (Mrs. Wilkinson)
Nominations and Awards
- European Actress 2000
- European Actor 2000
- European Film 2000
- Feature Film Selection 2000