An English boy (Jamie Bell) sneaks into ballet classes while his coal-miner father (Gary Lewis) thinks he’s taking boxing lessons at the local gym. Will little Billy follow his muse in the face of discouragement? Will Dad come around? Will Billy be accepted to the Royal Ballet School? Would a cow lick Lot’s wife? The film boasts fine acting and spirited dancing by 13-year-old Bell, along with strong support from the always-reliable Julie Walters as his dance teacher. On the other hand, Lee Hall’s pedestrian script is excruciatingly predictable—it’s Flashdance
without the flash. As the father, Lewis’ performance is unmotivated and inconsistent—subhuman brute one minute, loving cheerleader the next, according to the mechanical workings of the plot. Stephen Daldry’s direction is drably competent.