Billy Elliot; Questions On The Film Mercy College Assignment

2838 words - 12 pages

Part A
Identify the movie by stating its title, the year it was released, the name of the director, where the story is set,
and the time period in which the story takes place.
Billy Elliot is a 2000 British dance drama film directed by Stephen Daldry. It is set in Northern England
during the 1984-85 coal miner’s strike.
Who is the protagonist and what is he or she like? Evidence suggestions: dialogue, costume, actions
This movie settles around the life of a 11-year-old male protagonist who’s aspiration in life is to become a
professional ballet dancer, however is often set back in his goals by external struggles. Challenges that he
has to face such as the negative stereotypes of the male ballet dancer and the coal miner’s strike that both
his dad and brother, Tony, are severely affected by. He isn’t the typical young boys that have interests in
violence and video games, rather he prefers dancing and is sensitive and compassionate to his nana, who
suffers alzheimers.
What is the conflict that is driving the protagonist to act? Evidence suggestions: dialogue, character
interactions/actions, plot details
The protagonist, Billy, is driven by the conflict between him and his father, as he has a passion for dancing,
but his father sees it as too much of a feminine sport.
Billy’s dad Jackie believes in traditional gender responsibilities, as he is a coal miner, and in their society a
coal miner’s son is destined to also be a coal miner. But Billy is different, and has very contrasting values to
his father. His hopeless attempts to talk to his dad and his brother are characterised by men unable to
express any other feelings other than anger. But unlike them, Billy is able to express his emotions in dance.
The anger/violence of his father and brother and their narrow-minded view of the world make Billy lie rather
than risk confrontation. When confrontation does occur, Billy is courageous and stubborn.
Is there another less important conflict, often referred to as a subplot, which helps drive the story? If so,
describe that conflict and who is involved in it. Evidence suggestions: contextual information (setting)
The film is set in a mining village in County Durham, North East England during the miner’s strike of 1984 to
1985. It is a community under extreme threat due to the closure of the mine by the Thatcher government. By
the 1980’s demand for coal had dropped by 67% since the 1920s, this was because there were other
cheaper alternatives to coal such as oil and gas. Uneconomic mines had to be shut down in order for other
mine’s productivity increased in the long run. This was Margaret Thatcher’s new economic reform that
threatened the power of major trade unions. Billy’s father and brother are both coal miners under the trade
union who had suffered for 51 weeks earning a minimum of 50 pence a day, barely providing enough
money to sustain the family. For Jackie, this is a very challenging situation when he realises Billy’s potential...

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