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The Letter from Billy Elliot's Mum

This scene from Billy Elliot gets me every time - how heart-wrenching it is for us to realize how often Billy has been alone with the thoughts his mum wrote for him before she departed.

Such cinematic moments fill me with gratitude for artists who find ways of capturing and sharing the most memorable slices of being human. In entering this world, we unknowingly consent to experiencing unbearable sadness and suffering, great triumphs and jubilation, and everything in between.

From the Billy Elliot Screenplay:

Billy delves into his plastic bag and brings out a Newcastle United strip, a football, a tape and a letter.

MRS.WILKINSON: What's that?

BILLY: It's a letter.

MRS.WILKINSON: I can see it's a letter.

Billy pauses.

BILLY: It's me mum's.

MRS.WILKINSON looks at him.

She wrote it, for when I was eighteen...but I opened it.

Here.

He gives the letter to Mrs. Wilkinson. She is not sure whether to open it.
She does so tentatively. She looks at it with trepidation. She reads:

MRS.WILKINSON: "To my son, Billy."

"Dear Billy:
I know I must seem like a distant memory to you.
Which is probably a good thing."
"It will have been a long time...
...and I will have missed seeing you grow.
Missed you crying, laughing and shouting and ..."

BILLY takes over, having memorised the letter.

BILLY: "... I will have missed telling you off.
But please know that I was always there ... "

Mrs. Wilkinson joins him.

BILLY & MRS.WILKINSON:
" ... with you through everything.
And I always will be ... "

BILLY: " ... And I am proud to have known you.
And I'm proud that you were mine.
Always be yourself.
I'll love you forever."

MRS. WILKINSON checks to see if it's the end.

MRS.WILKINSON: "Mum."

MRS.WILKINSON: She must have been a very special woman, your mother.

BILLY: No, she was just me mum.

She hands the letter back

 
 

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