The History Boys (2006)

history boys poster 2006 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting look at education and differing views

The subject of consent and assault is even tougher to ignore with today's climate

Movie Info

Movie Name: The History Boys

Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Genre(s): Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  October 2, 2006 (Premiere)/October 13, 2006 (UK)

MPAA Rating: R

history boys samuel anderson dominic cooper james corden sacha dhawan

We’re going places!

A school in Sheffield has its hopes set on getting a group of students into Oxford or Cambridge and break a long school history.  Hector (Richard Griffiths) and Mrs. Lintott (Frances de la Tour) learn that the headmaster (Clive Merrison) is bringing in Oxford student Tom Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore) to help the students pass their exam.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner, The History Boys adapts the Alan Bennett 2004 award winning stage play with the cast reprising their roles.  The film was released to positive reviews.

The History Boys is an odd coming-of-age story.  It is fluid with the characters’ sexuality (and very un-judgmental), and it is also an odd story in the #MeToo type of world we live in now.

history boys james corden dominic cooper russell tovey richard griffiths

I don’t remember this Carpool Karaoke…

The movie will be uncomfortable for a lot of people though it is rather light and somewhat a comedy.  It has adults not only crossing lines with students, but also assaulting them…and everyone (including the other students) didn’t report or do anything about it.  It was just a kooky professor with wandering hands who didn’t deserve to lose his job.  It isn’t something that would stand today.  The idea is that teachers are human too, but it is done in a weird way that the viewer must be open to.

The cast is both solid character actors and up-and-coming actors.  Richard Griffiths leads the group as the grope-y Hector while Clive Merrison is the new teacher meant to give students a means to get into class.  Frances de la Tour plays the relatively character with the clearest perspective and Penelope Wilton has a small part as an art teacher.  The young students include Dominic Cooper as the “looker” character Dakin and James Corden is also in an early role. Russell Tovey, Samuel Anderson, Sacha Dhawan, Samuel Barnett, Andrew Knott, and Jamie Parker round out the students.

history boys richard griffiths dominic cooper

Oh you kooky old man with wandering hands…just don’t ride with boys anymore, and we’re cool.

The movie looks good.  Often when you have a stage play converted to film, it still feels like a stage play with limited sets.  The History Boys does have limited sets, but it doesn’t feel as small.  A trip to colleges provides a nice break for the visuals as well (and shows what the students are striving for if a person hasn’t seen them).

The History Boys is a tougher movie than it is meant to be.  It becomes tough regarding the issues in the film, and they take away from some of the core ideas of the movie.  It is a bit too bad in that sense because it is an interesting study about what is important to become a rounded person and conflicting ideas in education.  Many of the actor went on to appear in Alan Bennett’s 2015 movie The Lady in the Van.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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