[Bell] makes Billy the angelic urchin joyous in a streetwise, unphony way, and his dancing, which fuses classical ballet rigor with a loose jointed pop showmanship, is electric.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Real and consequential.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
You'll be there, rooting for the lad with a smile -- and a tear or two.
Susan Wloszczyna - USA Today
There's actually a lot going on in this little movie, and first-time feature director Stephen Daldry ... handles all of it deftly.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
It demands love, which is the best way not to get it.
Stephen Hunter - Washington Post
The best dance film in ages.
Jay Carr - Boston Globe
By setting this intimate conflict against a wider social drama, Daldry makes his portrait of a dancer all the more compelling.
Leslie Camhi - Village Voice
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Even if the story is sometimes too sweet to be true, we go out of the theater feeling good.
- Houston Chronicle
It's not often that you overhear someone say with real feeling after the credits have rolled: 'That was a wonderful movie.'
Jane Sumner - Dallas Morning News
An indelible portrait of its time and place. And you can dance to it.
Steven Rosen - Denver Post
Julie Walters ... is spirited and colorful as the ballet teacher, and Gary Lewis is somehow convincing as the dad even when the screenplay requires him to make big offscreen swings of position.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
The movie brims with visual wit.
Mark Caro - Chicago Tribune
One of those movies where it's impossible not to find yourself cheering for the scruffy underdog hero.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
A model of purposefulness; a movie rich, but not lost, in background detail and fair-minded in its account of Thatcherite woes to the working class.
Susan Stark - Detroit News
David Rooney - Variety
Tells a story that is entirely conventional and predictable, but it does so with great charm.
Jonathan Foreman - New York Post
This movie does have a certain undeniable charm.
Jay Boyar - Orlando Sentinel
Billy Elliot is a feel-good movie that you don't have to feel bad about feeling good about.
Peter Brunette - Film.com
The unvarnished, non-enhanced spectacle of a human being executing a display of physical prowess will always have the power to astonish, and the young Mr. Bell proves this very nicely.
Robert Horton - Film.com
- Globe and Mail
A surprisingly wise and funny meditation on the nature of what it truly means to be a man.
Mary Elizabeth Williams - Salon.com
Neither revolutionary in its approach or subject matter nor seamless in its storytelling, Billy Elliot nevertheless manages to sketch the lives of characters we come to care about.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
The arc of its story may be as old as the hills, but Daldry and his amazing young star, Jamie Bell, make every moist-eyed moment seem utterly, vitally new.
Matt Wolf - Associated Press
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Not trusting the audience to have any reaction that has not been completely stage-managed, [Hall and Daldry] lay on the sentimentality and the cliches as thick as they can, which is pretty thick.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
- Sight and Sound
Terrific story of young ballet dancer has strong language.
Nell Minow - Common Sense Media
The film about atypical artistic pursuits in a blue-collar community that "The Full Monty" sought to be. Peter Darling's choreography dexterously captures the defiance in the dancing - rage against economical and emotional repression in a motherless home.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
Ted Murphy - Hollywood.com
Gaby Bila-Gunther - Senses of Cinema
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
When sticking with Billy and his inspirational story, director Stephen Daldry hits all the right steps.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
- Time Out
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Daldry coaches an astonishing performance from Bell.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Susan Tavernetti - Palo Alto Weekly
John R. McEwen - Film Quips Online
Nick Davis - Nick's Flick Picks
- Film Threat
Claire Monk - Sight and Sound
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Jean Lowerison - San Diego Metropolitan
The story is familiar, to be sure, but director Stephen Daldry and writer Lee Hall tell it so persuasively it's irresistible, and the movie's score of vintage T. Rex classics could do for glam-rock what "The Full Monty" did for disco.
James Sanford - Kalamazoo Gazette
Billy Elliot earns every one of its sentiments and emotions without getting overly manipulative or preachy
Collin Souter - eFilmCritic.com
- Boston Phoenix
Jeremy Heilman - MovieMartyr.com
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
A feel-good movie that should have felt even better.
David N. Butterworth - Movie Boeuf
Billy Elliot is charming and entertaining. It's a bit of British fluff, enjoyable and lightweight.
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
For every boy who played with dolls or performed an activity once thought 'girly;' for every girl who played sports or was considered a 'Tom boy...'
Wesley Lovell - Oscar Guy
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
Because the story is so entirely straightforward, the beauty is more in the performances and in the subtle touches than in the journey itself.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
Marc Savlov - Anchorage Press
Daldry can piece together a competent montage sequence, but he has no idea how to hold your attention without resorting to inspid, watery melodrama.
Chuck Rudolph - Matinee Magazine
I always say to people at home with regards to prejudice that the theatre is wonderful, because it embraces everybody.
Brandon Judell - PopcornQ
Billy Elliot es una oda al espiritu humano, asi como un recordatorio divertido y sincero de la importancia de luchar por los suenos
Jorge Avila Andrade - Moviola
maintains a delicate balancing act between the comical tale of a boy's desire to be a ballet dancer and the backdrop of hard-edged, violent realism against which it is set
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
While it flirts with melodrama here and there, the heart-warming payoff worked for me.
Jim Chastain - Norman Transcript
...basically just sits there for a good long hour before it picks up any sensible speed. Is it all worth it, though? In ways.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
Matt Easterbrook - Matt's Movie Reviews
The most emotionally satisfying film of the year.
Dan Jardine - Apollo Guide
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
It is the performance and the dancing of young Jamie Bell that supply the soul of this film and turn it into pure movie magic.
Arthur Lazere - culturevulture.net
Behind a triumphant tale of self-discovery is a subtext of anxiety that ultimately enhances what might have been a pretty ordinary film.
Renee Scolaro Rathke - PopMatters
The movie is a charmer, even as it manipulates with the rigor of an experiment in Pavlovian conditioning.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Turns out to be that rare melodrama that earns both its laughter and its tears.
Christopher Kelly - Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
A funny, charming movie. The cast is loveable and believable.
Robert Strohmeyer - Filmcritic.com
Sticky-sweet confectioner's paste, bad for your teeth and liable to give you a tummy ache two hours later.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Writer Lee Hall and director Stephen Daldy transform the material into an exhilarating, funny and deeply sad story of growing pains.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
It has so much heart it'll charm you down to your tippy-toes.
- E! Online
Susan Granger - rec.arts.movies.reviews
A triumphal piece of stealth schmaltz.
Bob Strauss - Los Angeles Daily News
The young actor does his best, and, whereas we certainly root for his character, the movie is just too formulaic to be able to recommend it.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
Jamie Bell, the irrepressible child actor who plays him, communicates a sense of urgency in the role that commands attention.
John Hartl - Seattle Times
Features such strong performances and original circumstances that even the most stalwart cynic will likely succumb to its charismatic charm.
Rob Blackwelder - SPLICEDWire
The thing that makes it all somewhat tolerable is that Billy Elliot maintains a sense of grittiness throughout.
Susannah Breslin - TNT's Rough Cut
Avoids the kind of cheap manipulation inherent in its underdog scenario, leavening its uplift with sober (but never maudlin) drama.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
A charming, entertaining and enjoyable little film.
Jim Judy - Screen It!
Illustrates how classic storylines, in the right hands, can work over and over again.
Michael Tunison - Boxoffice Magazine
I'll be at the front of the line to name it one of the best films of the year.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
A bit of working-class malarkey so unrelentingly sweet, so determinedly dotty, it makes the teeth ache.
Glenn Lovell - San Jose Mercury News
Engrossing, funny, very sad, very moving and very uplifting.
William Gallagher - BBC
Billy Elliot has 'movie magic,' that ineffable cinematic sparkle which leaves the audience with a touch more forbearance than they had when they entered the theater.
Sometimes it takes a long time to hear the great chiming within....This theme is played out beautifully in one of the most spiritually literate films of 2000.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Scott A. Mantz - Scott Mantz' Movie Reviews
Its dry humor, earthy performances and distinctive take on the clash between art and life help it earn every tear and cheer.
Gene Seymour - Newsday
When that joy works its way up to his face and Billy finally smiles, the theater lights up with him.
Todd Anthony - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
This season's sure-fire sleeper hit.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
the kid turn(s) electric when he turns his frustrations into an eclectic mix of ballet, interpretive dance, and tap dance
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
Wesley Morris - San Francisco Examiner
Manages to thoroughly entertain, evoking laughter and tears.
Tim Bennett - CheckOut.com
- Ebert & Roeper
There's a certain sense of violation on the viewer's part, to have all one's trusted suspension of disbelief suddenly run over by such a barrage of easy cliche.
David Noh - Film Journal International
A very well made drama/comedy that will send everyone home happy and fulfilled.
Jay Stone - Ottawa Citizen
I've been choked up by a film here and there, but it's been a while since a film put tears in the eyes of this reviewer.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
Not the masterpiece the ads are already claiming it is, but it's joyful and moving in a way that few films manage to achieve.
Dave White - IFilm
Jason Anderson - eye WEEKLY
Will fulfill you in ways that most other films have long forgotten.
Joe Baltake - Sacramento Bee
- National Post
So deftly made and well performed that rather than being cloying and calculated, it ends up as charming and exhilarating.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Bell is astonishing, but almost equally startling is Lewis as the father.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
Bravo! to everyone involved.
Paul Tatara - CNN.com
So well-cast, well-acted and tactful it becomes the sort of feel-good movie that makes feeling good a guiltless pleasure.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Well-written by Lee Hall, smoothly-directed by Daldry and boasting strong performances from all its lead actors.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
Leaves you cheering as you dab your eyes with a Kleenex.
Sean O'Connell - Citysearch
The movie pours on scenes ... so manipulative and phony ... that our response is unnecessary.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
There's enough dancing to put a smile on the face of the most hard-hearted cynic.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Struggles mightily to win us over, and you have to appreciate the effort.
Bill Muller - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Robert Denerstein - Denver Rocky Mountain News
Short on sentimentality and imbued with an appealing grittiness.
Philip Booth - Orlando Weekly
Makes a cliched story seem fresh, but one too many bad choices yank it away from the truly inspiring.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
One of those rare movies that earns its feel-good ending without turning a blind eye to the compromises and little sorrows of everyday life.
Steve Murray - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
Movies that are labeled 'feel-good' often sound as inviting as a Sally Field Oscar acceptance speech, but Billy Elliot, a U.K. import, comes by its sentiment honestly.
Kevin Maynard - Mr. Showbiz
- Empire Magazine
Bell is extraordinary as Billy, the best child actor performance since Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
A predictable story.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
This is one of those films which is while not to everyone's tastes can be really satisfying.
Eric Lurio - Greenwich Village Gazette
The story of Billy Elliot is as old as the coal buried in England's hills, and it's as new as the voyage of self-discovery that some teen-ager somewhere has to make every day.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
It may be that the most fierce performance of the year comes from Jamie Bell.
Terry Lawson - Detroit Free Press
People who see it may feel like dancing out of the theater afterward. Go for it.
Bob Graham - San Francisco Chronicle
[A] little gem of a movie.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
If British filmmaking means to stage a comeback, it is likely to happen by way of nuanced, character-rich movies like this.
Bill Gallo - New Times
Alexander Walker - This is London
Billy Elliot delivers us to the core of our secret yearnings.
Cornell & Petricelli - CinemaSense.Com
This is three-hankie wonderful.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Christopher Kelly - Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Ian Waldron-Mantgani - UK Critic
The short shrift given to ... background considerations gives the film a shallowness.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews