The History Boys (2006)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance

The History Boys (2006) Poster

An unruly class of gifted and charming teenage boys are taught by two eccentric and innovative teachers, as their headmaster pushes for them all to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge.




  • Dominic Cooper at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Richard Griffiths and Stephen Campbell Moore in The History Boys (2006)
  • Nicholas Hytner at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Nicholas Hytner at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Samuel Barnett at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Richard Griffiths at an event for The History Boys (2006)

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15 October 2006 | exactlywhy
| intriguing, but heavy on the rhetoric
The History Boys is a charming film about modern education. Without committing itself to any particular judgment, it examines the conflict between antiquate, romantic, and specifically Classical methods of gaining and appreciating knowledge and the detached, mercenary deceit needed to sell a great mind in the modern world.

I imagine that most of the film's wit and insight owes itself to Alan Bennett's play, which I have not seen. However, it is the theatrical nature of this production that ultimately lets it down. Bennett's tendency towards improbably clever and succinct dialogue can perhaps be forgiven, but, when it includes direct and surreally retrospective commentary that might play smoothly on stage, the film suddenly seems annoyingly pretentious.

Nevertheless, The History Boys is an entertaining intellectual exercise. It might be slightly ill suited for cinema, but the film does allow the material to reach a much wider audience, and I, for one, was glad for the opportunity to see an on screen rendition of a popular play. I only wish that the audience had been granted the opportunity to do a little more of its own interpretation.

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