A boy's self-identity and self-actualization

Melba 2022-04-22 07:01:12

After watching "Billy Elliot" last night, my first reaction was that this movie is good, really good. Photography, editing, soundtracking, choreography, and performance are all brilliant, moving and not sensational. However, what amazed me the most was its script, so I was really disappointed for a while when I found out later that such a good script didn't win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay that year.

A good script is nothing more than two kinds. One is to find a new way to write a story that no one has written before, such as this year's Oscar upstart "Her"; Come, for example, "Beyond My Life". Born in a British miner family, Billy Elliot, a young boy who loves ballet, secretly takes dance lessons and plans to attend the selection of the Royal Ballet School. Although his family did not support him, in the end he moved his father with his enthusiasm and talent, successfully entered the dance school, and finally had a brilliant artistic career. At first glance, this is still a story of a small person realizing a big dream. In the West, which is good at making and selling dreams, it is already a flooded type. The subtlety of the script of "Beyond My Life" is that compared with the same type of inspirational and tender films, it only retains the most typical three elements: a child who persistently pursues his dreams, a family who opposes it, and a successful ending. . What connects these three elements is a boy's self-identification and a new understanding of male identity.

Billy was 11, the son of a miners' family in a remote British city, at the height of the miners' strike of 1984. Billy's brother, the union president, is leading his father and other miners and the government in a tough fight. This is the background of the film's story, and there are many places worthy of careful analysis. Miners are a profession full of strength and sweat, and people who work in mining often come across as uneducated, rude, and impolite (and this is also the image of the father and brother in the film). The miner in the film symbolizes a kind of masculinity, a kind of masculine charm. Therefore, families that have been rooted in mining areas for generations will naturally hope that the next generation of men can be as strong and tough as their fathers and grandfathers. So Billy's father sent him to learn boxing and gave him the gloves that his grandfather used, not only because of their financial constraints, but also because of a father's expectation. The tension between the miners and the government continued to be tense, which further strengthened the need for "men must be strong". Therefore, his father had to pay for tuition fees even if he had no income, and insisted on taking Billy's classes, which just showed his father's attitude towards Billy. Expectations have grown stronger.

And Billy has no talent for boxing at all. His hobbies are music and dancing, just like his long-dead mother. (The film emphasizes his nostalgia and attachment to his mother, which is also intended to set off his love for dancing and further deepen the conflict between him and his father and brother.) But he always danced secretly by himself, until one day he accidentally broke into After entering the teaching venue of the ballet class, the teacher asked him to listen and learn to dance, and for the first time he seriously faced the fact that he liked dance. The acceptance of this fact was not all smooth sailing. Growing up in a male-dominated family, he inevitably fell into the anxiety that dancing was for girls, and boys who danced were sissies (that dance class did Only he is a boy). It wasn't until one of his female classmates said that there were male ballet dancers as strong as athletes that he reassured him and devoted himself to learning to dance.

From here, the conflict between my father and Billy is completely built up. In my father's eyes, boxing represented a brave, fierce and aggressive temperament, while ballet represented a gentle, sensitive and vulnerable temperament. Compared with the fact that dancing is expensive and can't make a living to support a family, he thinks that it is a loss of pride for a man to learn to dance, and that is the main reason why he opposes Billy's pursuit of dreams. The father's vision is very representative of the stereotypes that most people in society have about these two things, even though they are not. In this way, the main contradiction of the father and son, and even the contradiction of the whole story, from the material rise to the conflict caused by the difference of gender identity, this is a realm that ordinary inspirational and tender movies cannot achieve.

So how does the movie solve this problem? Billy performed an impromptu dance in front of his father, funny but full of pride and pride. Shocked by his talent, the father went from opposition to support. But this does not mean that the father has changed his attitude towards ballet. He just made concessions to his son's talent and did not want to feel ashamed for preventing his son from getting ahead. So I continued to design the plot later. During the son's examination, the father stood outside the door of the dance studio, intoxicated watching the female students practicing dance steps inside the door, and was shocked by the beauty of ballet for the first time. Although what he felt was still the beauty of ballet women, he also touched him a lot - when his son retreated, he did not hesitate to drive his son back to the waiting room.

In the last scene, many years later, my father went to London to see Billy perform in person, and Billy was an indispensable pillar of the dance company at that time. When I first watched it, I thought this scene was a bit of a continuation of the story. The story ended in Billy's car going to school in London and it was fine. It seemed a bit pretentious to have to arrange a glorious ending for the protagonist. After thinking about it, this scene is definitely not superfluous (especially for fans of Adam Cooper, these 24 seconds are their motivation to watch the film, wrong). The adult Billy is played by the famous ballet dancer Adam Cooper, who is best known for writing and starring in AMP's male version of Swan Lake, and the performance at the end of the film is an excerpt. The feature of the male version of "Swan Lake" is that it highlights the strength and beauty of men. Even people who don't know ballet at all can feel the texture and style from Cooper's performance that is completely different from the previous female-led ballet. Proving that ballet is not just a weak art, it should not be labelled with any gender. The significance of this passage to the film is to show that Billy finally succeeded in breaking his father's preconceptions about ballet, ballet dancers, and what career men should have with his artistic charm. achieve complete reconciliation.

The problem with Billy and his father was to prove that "men don't become sissies even if they do women's things" (this expression... is out of words). The positive significance of their reconciliation lies in affirming the diversity of male roles and breaking down the traditional boundaries of social identities between men and women. But this kind of progress is not complete, because this kind of "diversity" must still be based on "without losing the brilliance", that is, no matter what occupation you are in, you must still be strong, brave, and powerful, in line with the traditional definition of a man. . But what should I do if I meet a man with a feminine personality?

The screenwriter's thinking about male identity went a step further, so he inserted the story of Billy's gay friend Michael. Growing up in such a patriarchal family, Billy has always shown obvious homophobic tendencies. When he found out that his friend Michael was transvestite and showed inexplicable affection for him, he chose not to accept or tolerate, but to avoid, play Tai Chi, and change the subject. Because of his friendship, he doesn't want to betray and betray his friends, and on the other hand, he has never overcome the anxiety and fear of homosexuality in his heart. So the enormous pressure of having a bad time in the entrance exam unreservedly inspired this fear - he beat up a male classmate who was trying to comfort him. In the end, friendship overcame fear. When leaving home for school, Michael shouted "dance boy" to Billy, and he also confessed to Michael's concerns about boys learning to dance. Perhaps thinking that it was so difficult for him to overcome the prejudice of the dance boy, he naturally understood Michael's situation better, so he ran to his friend to say goodbye and kissed him. It was a kiss and an understanding. Years later, Billy invited not only his family, but also Michael to watch himself being performed. Maybe it implied that Billy really accepted Michael, accepted homosexuality, and accepted that femininity is also a kind of masculinity? The screenwriter didn't pay much attention to this clue, maybe I thought too much.

Looking back at Billy's journey of chasing her dream, it is actually an experience from self-identification to self-realization. From facing up to his hobbies to constantly broadening his and other men's understanding of male identity, it's hard to imagine how many opportunities he would have had to realize his dreams if he hadn't gone through such a process of mind liberation. Ultimately, self-identity and self-actualization are inseparable.


PS: I don't know what I'm talking about. Analysis cannot always sing praises. It should be said that it is insufficient, but the level is not enough. There are still many places worth talking about, and I don't have the time, space and brainpower to endure. The speech is incoherent, and you can change it when you are in the mood. The important thing is to write down your original thoughts. A good movie seems to be said to be bitter and hated by me. Hey, watching movies like this makes me very tired.

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Extended Reading
  • Tomas 2021-11-16 08:01:28

    In a sense, this movie has always existed for me as a chicken soup for the soul. When I am happy or down, I will turn it over and over again...sometimes, I shouldn’t complain about my bad luck and do everything. No, if you really make up your mind to accomplish one thing, the whole world will unite to help you. ★★★★★

  • Madisyn 2022-03-26 09:01:04

    Like billy said, it feels a little stiff when dancing, it's like being electrified, you can fly and forget it's all but yourself... I stick to my childhood ideals like billy, and now it's really become something I do every day, feeling Very comfortable. The most invisible thing is the blooming of life, which makes people feel every time.

Billy Elliot quotes

  • Billy: I think I'm scared, Dad.

    Dad: That's okay, son. We're all scared.

    Billy: Well... if I don't like it, can I still come back?

    Dad: Are you kidding? We've let out your room.

    [straight face then laughter]

  • Tutor 1: What does it feel like when you're dancing?

    Billy: Don't know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going... then I like, forget everything. And... sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I've got this fire in my body. I'm just there. Flyin' like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.