The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

Y life’s com­pan­ion in­sisted on see­ing Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire de­spite my warn­ing it was shal­low, sen­ti­men­tal and pre­dictable and that any­one looking for a good film about a slum kid ris­ing above grind­ing poverty and lower-class ori­gins should see Billy El­liot ( Satur­day, 8.30pm, Ten) in­stead. Young Billy is played beau­ti­fully by Jamie Bell. His fam­ily is do­ing it tough in a dreary coalmin­ing town in north­ern Eng­land. His dad is on strike, his mum is dead, his loving grandma ( Jean Hey­wood) is go­ing a bit vague, Mar­garet Thatcher is crush­ing the work­ers, and life is grim. Dad scrapes up the money for Billy’s box­ing lessons, but Billy wants to be a bal­let dancer like the girls he’s seen at re­hearsal, and is en­cour­aged by a kindly teacher ( Julie Wal­ters) who recog­nises his abil­ity. This truly ex­hil­a­rat­ing and in­spi­ra­tional film — I dis­like the word in­spi­ra­tional but of­ten find I can’t avoid it — was di­rected by Stephen Daldry, who hasn’t

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