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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the characters can be rough and intolerant, overall the movie has an uplifting message of hope, perseverance, and sacrifice.
Positive 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.
Violence & Scariness
Some family violence (fathers grabbing/striking sons); police fight strikers; some smashing and confrontations.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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."
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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.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking (by both adult and underage characters) and smoking, references to alcoholism, adult characters tipsy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the uplifting dramedy Billy Elliot is rated R primarily for language (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 extremely strong 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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film is well above average -- tender, funny, and touching. Bell is extraordinary as Billy, and Lewis is first-rate as the father who makes an unbearably painful sacrifice in order to give his son the chance he never had. Director Stephen Daldry has a real gift for visual storytelling, and it's on display in Billy Elliot. A chase through hanging laundry, dance lessons in a boxing ring, and the opening shot of Billy on a trampoline are images that are fresh and memorable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.