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?