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A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family.

1984 in the coal mining village of Evrington, Durham County, Northeast England. The only life the Elliots have known is working in the mine. Current family patriarch, widowed Jackie Elliot, and his eldest son Tony Elliot work in the mine, and Jackie's younger son, eleven year old Billy Elliot, will probably take his place alongside his father and brother when the time comes. However, Jackie, Tony and their fellow miners are currently in a bitter labor dispute, with the mine still operating with scab labor, which is prolonging the strike since the company has no reason to give in to the wage demands. With the strike foremost on Jackie and Tony's minds, Billy is left largely to his own devices, his father giving him 50p for the community boxing class down at the boys' club when Billy is not at home looking after his gram, who has early onset Alzheimer's. Learning how to box is another of the activities passed down along the male lineage of the Elliot family. However, Billy doesn't much like it and isn't very good at it, instead more interested in the movement put to music in the form of the girls' ballet class held on the other side of the gym by chain-smoking Mrs. Wilkinson. Soon, Billy has ditched the boxing, instead secretly attending the ballet class with Mrs. Wilkinson's blessing. She can see that Billy not only has natural talent but passion, unlike most of the girls in the class, so much so that she believes he may have a real shot at making it into the Royal Ballet School. However, Billy has to decide whether this path is one he wants to take, especially as it means coming clean to his family, Jackie and Tony who may feel emasculated in the process, especially if their miner friends find out, and especially in Billy's destiny as a coal miner himself. Billy's involvement in the ballet may tear the family apart in ways he didn't even imagine. But Billy may get guidance in following his dreams regardless of the views of others, by his best friend Michael Caffrey, and a letter left to Billy by his mother before she died.


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