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The History Boys

Meet the boys who are making history! 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from The History Boys

Director: Nicholas Hytner

Starring: Richard Griffiths, Dominic Cooper, Stephen Campbell Moore, Samuel Barnett, Frances de la Tour

The History Boys sees Alan Bennett’s eponymous Broadway musical smash brought to the screen. Set in 1983, the story centres on eight bright, witty, unruly students attempting to pass the daunting Oxbridge entrance exams. When the obsessive headmaster recruits newcomer Mr. Irwin (Campbell Moore) to give them the necessary coaching, the boys’ journey towards intellectual prominence begins. The scene is set for a hilarious film full of dissonance.

With so many in the cast, Hytner concentrates on a handful: the handsome Dakin (Cooper) and the Dakin-obsessed Posner (Barnett). The film comes across as a piece very well-known by its ensemble cast, as they find moments of personality in lines delivered with precision.

Cooper takes the lead with a charm and vivacity that is complemented by the creative and in depth portrayals of Campbell Moore and Barnett. Griffiths is also excellent in his potentially disturbing role of a man with a penchant for getting “close” with his students. The script is bound together tightly by the cast.

Despite some gymnastic camerawork, the cast, plot and feelings of the piece are so richly portrayed that the audience will be drawn in by the emotional energy of the characters. The dialogue sparkles with killer wit and the student/teacher friction produces some amusing one-liners. Bennett’s writing has made a successful transformation from stage to screen. In its script is the possibility of it becoming a cult classic.

Sarah Hall

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)