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Billy Elliot Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Even as the director, Stephen Daldry, places his star front and center, he doesn't know how to highlight him.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    As much parable and fantasy as it is realistic.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a purer expression of rapture in a film this year than the one that opens Billy Elliot.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Mark Caro

    A triumph that deserves a broad audience.

  • See all Billy Elliot reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 14+

Terrific story of young ballet dancer has strong language.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this ultimately uplifting dramedy is rated R primarily for lanugage (an edited version was released on DVD with a PG-13 rating, but it's no longer easy to find for rental or sale) -- everyone in the movie uses terrible language all the time. There are also references to transvestism and homosexuality, some discussion of sex among young characters, and a brief glimpse of bare buttocks when one character moons another. Some teens may be upset by the way that family members treat each other -- they're insulting, neglectful, and cruel, and one parent hits a child and threatens another -- but the overall takeaway is a heartwarming one.

  • Families can talk about how the stress of painful external circumstances can affect family members' ability to be kind to one other. Why was the strike so important to Billy's dad and brother? How was that like -- and not like -- the importance of ballet to Billy?
  • Why did Mrs. Wilkinson want to help Billy? Why was Billy's interest in ballet so terrifying to him? What made him change his mind? What do you think of Billy's dad's response when Billy says he's scared?
  • What does it tell us that Billy's father had never been out of Durham, and that Billy had never been to see Durham's famous cathedral?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Although the characters can be rough and intolerant, overall the movie has an uplifting message of hope, hard work, and sacrifice.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The characters are a rough-and-tumble bunch who make lots of mistakes and often set poor examples (adults and kids alike) -- but Billy works hard to fulfill his dreams, and his dad ultimately proves to care deeply about his son.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Some family violence (fathers grabbing/striking sons); police fight strikers; some smashing and confrontations.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Children discuss sex and adult infidelity. A brief glimpse of a bare behind from a distance. One male character puts another male character's hands down his pants. Use of sexual British slang words like "puffer" and "fanny."

  • language false3

    Language: Frequent strong language from all characters, including children. Many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "ass," "crap," "wanker," "for God's sake," and more.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Drinking (by both adult and underage characters) and smoking, references to alcoholism, adult characters tipsy.