Billy Elliot is a great movie and a great story that got me thinking about the challenges we face when our purpose/ desire doesn’t fit with what the dominant culture of masculinity. A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance, the cultural pressures, and the disintegration of his family.
The movie takes place in County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Billy lives in a family where his mom passed away, his father and brother rules the household and his grandmother suffers from mental deterioration. Under these conditions, Billy sneaks to the girls- only- attended ballet class to learn dancing. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael, encourages Billy’s desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Billy through dancing frees himself and ignites his inner electricity in his own life and others’.
There are many scenes in the movie that brought emotions to audience. Moments such as when Billy re-reads, by heart, his mom’s letter; when Billy dances with anger against the social norm; when Billy’s father, who is emotionally distraught, is torn between supporting the union or supporting his older son’s beliefs; when Billy’s father breaks the piano to warm up their house in winter; when Billy’s father cries out his loneliness at the Christmas night, and so on…
Watching the movie brought the following questions to mind:
- What do we do to help our boys form their identity?
- What struggles do our boys have in developing their destiny/identity today?
- What are the current social stigmas against boys?
- What challenges do we all face today while intentionally wanting to form our non-conformist identity?
Any ideas? Looking forward to hearing from your!