Starter for 10
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A working-class English boy who has been fortunate enough to be accepted into a posh private university struggles to realize his lifelong dream while simultaneously winning the heart of the girl he loves in a romantic, bittersweet comedy directed by Tom Vaughan and starring James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall, and Charles Dance. The time is the mid-'80s, and the University Challenge phenomenon is sweeping through England. Despite his underprivileged background, Essex boy Brian Jackson (McAvoy) knows that he has what it takes to make it to the finals on one of the most popular programs in all of… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Conventional, slight, but charming."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"[The film] bears many of the hallmarks of teen comedies, but also boasts virtues not generally associated with the genre, such as wit, class consciousness, multidimensional characters, and a penetrating intelligence."
‑ Nathan Rabin, AV Club
"...a perfectly watchable (yet far-from-memorable) romantic comedy/coming-of-age story."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"Sharp jokes and heady nostalgia ensure it will at least please a wide audience."
‑ Sam Jordison, Film4
"McAvoy carries the picture confidently enough as a leading man, and there is a nice performance from Benedict Cumberbatch."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"There's nothing here we haven't seen done better before."
‑ David Fear, Time Out New York
"Some nice performances and modest laughs highlight this amiable British comedy about a young man who goes off to Bristol University in the mid-'80s and does what young people naturally do when they go to college."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"Pure feel-good romantic nostalgia, whether you lived in 1980's London or not."
‑ Michael Szymanski,
"James McAvoy delivers a star turn as Brian, a kid from the country obsessed with becoming smart."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"A modest and very British movie."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"This is expertly crafted entertainment that follows all the beats of a traditional romantic comedy, but it's done with such sincerity that it's difficult to begrudge the odd descent into cliché."
‑ Chris Tilly, Time Out
"Written by David Nicholls, adapting his own novel, and directed by Tom Vaughan, a British TV veteran making his feature debut, Starter for 10 clips along smartly."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"A sweet, funny nostalgia trip back to the '80s for the anglophile in all of us."
‑ Heather Huntington,
"There is an utter lack of visual energy at every turn, like every single take in the final cut was the last shot on that day of shooting."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"Enjoyably fluffy romantic comedy with a witty script, an 80s-tastic soundtrack and a superb comic performance from James McAvoy."
‑ Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
More reviews for Starter for 10 on Rotten Tomatoes

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