There's too much miserable reality and not a lot of transcendent dance, and the director, Stephen Daldry, doesn't cover the action from enough angles.
Stream Billy Elliot
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Bell is utterly persuasive as the boy literally yearning to leap beyond the oppressively apparent confines of his world.
An uplifting, crowd-pleasing film in the tradition of "The Full Monty" that could easily win Oscar nominations for both its 11-year-old star, Jamie Bell, and first-time director, Stephen Daldry.
In its determination to overdo sure-fire material, Billy Elliot becomes as impossible to wholeheartedly embrace as it is to completely reject.
A triumph that deserves a broad audience.
Bell explodes onscreen in a performance that cuts to the heart without sham tearjerking. Look for Billy to blast off.
Compared to manipulative tearjerkers like "Pay It Forward" or "Men of Honor," Billy Elliot is a model of restraint, one that earns its warmth the hard way -- by making us care about the people who are going through familiar steps.
Director Stephen Daldry gets it right.
An exquisite, ecstatic film, crude in its characterizations and plotting, yes, but extraordinary in its capacity for elation and its hard-earned sentimentality.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a purer expression of rapture in a film this year than the one that opens Billy Elliot.