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Moulin Rouge

Ambitious, daring, energetic, and entertaining —Marty Mapes (review...)

Everybody comes to the Moulin Rouge

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Billy Elliot is being hailed as this year’s “This Year’s Full Monty.” It seems like there’s been a “This Year’s Full Monty” every year since The Full Monty hopped the pond, and none of them have lived up to the moniker.

Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) is a boy who goes to boxing lessons in spite of his obvious lack of talent. He becomes intrigued one day when the ballet class has to share the gym with the boxers. He decides he’d rather take ballet lessons than boxing lessons. Billy’s conservative, coal-mining father would explode if he knew his son was a “poof,” but Billy dances anyway.

Billy Elliot is charming and entertaining. It’s a bit of British fluff, enjoyable and lightweight. But two things detracted from the film. First, the movie goes out of its way to explain that, in spite of his ballet dancing, Billy is not a homosexual. The denial is so loud and so constant, that the film had a bitter, homophobic flavor to it. Second, the film is ostensibly about a boy dancing, but there was not much dancing in the movie. There were three of four scenes of Billy hoofing it, but subplots and settings occupy a big chunk of the movie. That’s not so much a complaint as a faulty expectation, but it discolored the movie for me to a degree.