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The History Boys 2006
Description: The storyline of an unruly class of bright, funny history students at a Yorkshire grammar school in pursuit of an undergraduate zone at Oxford or Cambridge. Bounced between their maverick English master, a young and shrewd teacher hired to up their use scores, a grossly out-numbered history teacher, and a headmaster obsessed with results, the men attempt to pass.
Released: 22 Dec 2006 Director: Nicholas Hytner Writers: Alan Bennett (screenplay), Alan Bennett (play) Actors: Samuel Anderson, James Corden, Stephen Campbell Moore, Richard Griffiths Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
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The History Boys Similar Movies

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The History Boys Reviews:

British playwright/screenwriter Alan Bennett, whose scintillating wit first surfaced in his contributions to the 1960 satiric scene revue, "Beyond the Fringe," wrote "The History Boys," a enjoy set in the early 1980s about English secondary school students and their teachers, academic tournament and the purpose of education, and the chaotic developments of adolescent sexuality and coming of age.Specifically, eight men qualify for the Oxbridge entrance exams, an unprecedented number for this particular school. Proud of this but, more importantly, out to capitalize on the enhanced prospects for the school's future that should follow if all eight are agreed into Oxford or Cambridge, the Headmaster hires a unique tutor to prepare the men for the exams. It is in the midst of this cram course that the drama unfolds.Produced by Britain's National Theatre, and led by NT Director Nicholas Hytner, "History Boys" became a smash scene hit in London (in 2004) and Fresh York (in 2006). In between the launching of these two productions, Hytner, with his theater cast intact and working from a screen adaptation by Bennett, directed this filmic ver of the play.Most such segues from scene to screen don't work out well because of the vast differences between these two mediums in their requirements for effective dramatic expression. What may be spellbinding stagecraft can become deadly stasis in the film house, to everyone's dismay. I'm absolutely delighted to report that the film, "History Boys," is a glorious exception to this general tendency.One major reason is the stupendous cast, led by Richard Griffiths as the porcine, motorcycle riding, gay English teacher, Hector. Another teachers are played quite brilliantly by Frances de la Tour (an acerbic history teacher, Mrs. Lintott, lone advocate for women's achievements in this testosterone tinged cloister), Clive Merrison (the cynical, dyspeptic Headmaster, a classic administrator, utterly out of his element among scholars), and Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin, a hired gun brought in to coach the men for the Oxbridge exams, whose appeal to them is not only to lie to receive ahead, but, more positively, also to recognize one's uniqueness, one's unique qualities, and enjoy them up). Mr. Griffiths and Ms. De la Tour have reaped numerous theater awards for their roles. The student contingent is led by Dominic Cooper (Dakin, the cute boy), Samuel Barnett (Posner, the fretful one) and Russell Tovey (Rudge, the jock).I think the movie works primarily because of the snappy interactions and byplay among the ensemble of the eight students whose odyssey is the principal topics of the story. The men are dissimilar types but all are energized as only high spirited adolescents can be. And it is this energy - the constant quipping, antics, and tiny dramas of everyday life among them and in their encounters with their teachers – which so richly infuses the film with the active pace and rhythms of movement that movie demands.Bennett also supports the film's proceedings immensely by avoiding the drawn out speechifying that can succeed on scene but slay off a film in nothing flat. His screenplay sparkles with laser-like tiny zingers. Examples. Dakin is described by a teacher as "cunt struck." Rudge, who appears more dull witted than is in fact the case, when pinned down to define history, gives the notorious respond that has been used in advertisements for the productions: "History is just one f***ing thing after another." Or this one, uttered by a teacher during a class field trip to inspect the fight memorial at Coventry: "While we may speak of 'Remembrance Day,' the true purpose of fight memorials, like Coventry and the Cenotaph, is to aid forgetting (of the realities of war), not remembering." (I instantly thought of Maya Lin's Vietnam Fight Memorial on the D. C. Mall, which so presciently violates this formula.) There is also plenty of suspense here to hold movie viewers attentive. Naturally there's the question of whether the men will succeed on the exams, what the future holds for each. There's also philosophical tension, embodied in the clash of pedagogic values and motives between Hector (the quintessential scholar, the advocate of mastering knowledge for knowledge's sake) and Irwin (the pragmatic, win-at-any-cost, success coach, for whom win most assuredly trumps truth seeking).And there is sexual tension aplenty among this group as well. Bennett deftly explores a tons of sexual expressions, primarily homophilic, among the teachers and students. There is Hector's frank attraction to the boys, never mind the presence on the stage of his "unexpected" wife. And Irwin's more latent homophilia, which is not the only necessary matter hiding in his private closet. Among the students there is Posner's dawning, hesitant realization of his queer impulses, and Dakin's more confident and polymorphous sexual appetites. "History Boys" is a triumphant reflection on the adolescent quest for truth and authenticity, about the globe and about oneself. My grades: 9/10 (A) (Seen on 12/22/06)


So many moments in this movie struck a chord with me. As a grammar school student applying for Oxbridge, I have to disagree with the previous reviewer. The worries and pressures, as well as the arrogance, humour (and sheer smart-aleckness) that surround the boys' dialogue perfectly capture the hilarity and torture of adolescence. The dialogue is a tiny stage-y, but that doesn't seriously tarnish its impact. I think this movie expresses the uncertainty and risk involved in life in a method that is both poignant and witty; often both at the same time. Concepts about what education could really be should not be more beautifully expressed than in this picture of young men with their entire lives stretched out in front of them, and old teachers still unsure of what it's all about. Subtle and brilliant.


I had the nice fortune to see a preview of this movie at Picturehouse Greenwich - the greatest cinema in London. I had seen the enjoy in London so was expecting to be disappointed at seeing the movie of the History Men on the screen. However,I am satisfied to report it is a wonderful film. Nice characters, far too many nice performances to pick any one person as greatest actor. The men and staff of the school were wonderful and fully believable. Not quite how life was when I was at school, but I imagine many grammar schools in the 1980's were the same. I laughed out loud and cried and left the cinema with a smile on my face.A gotta see



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