06 December 2006

The History Boys

The History Boys
(UK, 2006)
dir. Nicholas Hytner
rating: ✶✶✶✶✶

Based on Alan Bennett's excellent 2004 play, and with the original stage cast, the engaging and well-acted film covers the story of a class of eight high-spirited, very bright boys at a grammar school in Sheffield preparing to sit entrance examinations for Oxford and Cambridge. In part a coming-of-age saga, it touches on sexuality both of students and teachers, the education system, English class structure, and the meaning of learning. It succeeds in being both comic and, at times, profoundly moving. A sub-theme on homosexuality further enhances the film's insights into the lives of students and masters alike in the evolving social context of the 1980's.