A boy grows up in a coal mining town in England. His father and brother work in the mines all their lives. The sustenance of the whole town depends on the mines, and lives were pretty much without anything sublime. What are the odds that a young boy in this somber environment could grow up to be a star ballet dancer?
Life is rough in the town where Billy lives. Men are men, and Billy's father misunderstood his son's bizarre interest in dance.
To my mind, it is an absolute miracle that Billy discovered his love of dance in an environment so unsuited to it.
It's another miracle that his desire was so strong that he could only continue.
And later again, another beautiful miracle when Billy's unhappy father began to understand and went to bat for his son, and the whole town rallied behind this miracle.
This movie made me think of all the people in the world who never knew they had talents, and, if, somehow, they had, they lived in a time and in circumstances that really prevented them from honoring and developing them.
I might be the first to say that if someone really wants something enough, they can run with it. They can make it happen. That may be true today in the United States and many other countries as well, but not everywhere where survival dominates lives.
I think of the talents of slaves in the 1800's -- how could a slave become an author, for example, when he was forbidden to learn to read? And yet his children and grandchildren may have become notable writers. It is painful to think of talent denied.
I also think of my parents who came from Russia without any education. In retrospect, my father would have loved to become a lawyer or even a judge. My mother was a natural to be a writer or a dramatic actress. She absolutely had the talent. Instead, they worked hard in their grocery store to support themselves and their family. Life was about putting bread on the table. Maybe if my parents had dared, they could have fulfilled their dreams. It has to be that they could have, but we will never know.
And what about my mother and father's parents? In their hard lives, who even could give a thought to what they might like to do?
And where did Shakespeare's talent and focus come from?
Maybe there is something to this about the stars deciding our lives and yet...
I am so fortunate to have discovered -- stumbled on -- something that so fulfills my mind and heart as what I am doing now. It took me long enough.
In one sense, it seems that I fell into it. At the same time, it sometimes seems now that in some deep way, I was preparing for it all my life and, perhaps, on some unrevealed subconscious level, I always knew I would be a part of Heavenletters™. At the same time as I think this, I also think that I could have walked right by this opportunity without noticing. And, then again, at the same time, it's like I am caught up in a North wind that propels me along, and I'm not doing anything at all.
Back to the movie, it's really wonderful. The very end of the last scene is absolutely breathtaking. Billy Elliot, the movie -- have you seen it?