The History Boys
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An unruly collection of clever but crass Thatcher-era English high-school students seek to earn the scores needed to enroll in Oxford and Cambridge in director Nicholas Hytner and screenwriter Alan Bennett's screen adaptation of Bennett's Tony-winning play. The History Boys focuses on a group of eight students, all of them deemed by their overeager headmaster (Clive Merrison) to be the best and the brightest. Though they've been coddled by their humanities-loving instructor, Hector (Richard Griffiths), and their acerbic history teacher, Mrs. Lintott (Frances de la Tour), the boys… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Taking a production pretty much intact from stage to screen robs it of its surprises. The cast seems to know what's coming, and so do we. There's not a single moment where you sense 'discovery' taking place."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"The History Boys is a movie that asks questions like 'What is education really for anyway?' and asks them in an altogether witty, brainy way. It turns history into what it really is, the story of our lives."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"The play's the thing -- the only thing -- here"
‑ Geoff Berkshire, Metromix.com
"The transfer from stage to film doesn't always go smoothly, as it's hard to shake the film's theater roots."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A hugely enjoyable outing of subtle humour, witty words and a keen insight into human nature and the art of learning."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"A funny thing happened to The History Boys on the way to the screen. The players are the same, the dialogue is pretty much identical, but the vibrancy of the play -- its exhilarating immediacy -- has been muted."
‑ Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
"Full of energy, ideas and fine acting."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"In attempting to absolve the perverse actions of a teacher on the basis of his apparent tutoring skills, Alan Bennett has created a dubious work of fiction that is beyond empathy or humor."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"Movies, unlike plays, tend to be just about a very few things, or they feel rushed and overly sweeping, as this one occasionally did. Plays can linger and chew on their themes and keep the audience engaged much more easily."
‑ Karina Montgomery, Cinerina
"[History Boys] is most potently about the love of teaching, and how the best teachers can help give meaning to existence; and if not meaning in the grand sense, at least an appreciation of what it means to be human."
‑ Beverly Berning, culturevulture.net
"The film becomes a sermonette on tolerance. But with its one-sidedness, it fails to practice what it preaches."
‑ Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle
"...It's a rare pleasure to see a film that assumes literacy on the part of its audience."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"The History Boys is much less about lighting and composition than it is about Bennett's sharp, insightful script."
‑ Betsy Bozdech, Hollywood.com
"With the writing way above board and insights fueling the story forward with heart and bawdy comedy, "The History Boys" is amiably off-center, sure, but it finds its core and leaves its mark."
‑ Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News (Maine)
"What lifts this film above the average is the extremely clever, erudite and witty dialogue."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
More reviews for The History Boys on Rotten Tomatoes

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