In 1980s Britain, a group of young men at Cutlers' Grammar School all have the brains, and the will to earn the chance of getting accepted in the finest universities in the nation, Oxford and Cambridge. Despite the fine teaching by excellent professionals like Mrs Lintott in history and the intellectually enthusiastic Hector in General Studies, the Headmaster is not satisfied. He signs on the young Irwin to polish the students' style to give them the best chance. In this mix of intellectualism and creative spirit that guides a rigorous preparation regime for that ultimate educational brass ring, the lives of the randy students and the ostensibly restrained faculty intertwine that would change their lives forever. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
The story is set in the early 1980s because shortly after this Oxford and Cambridge changed their entrance system and abolished the seventh-term post-A-level entrance exams. See more »
The lollipop lady that reports Hector to the headmaster carries a sign that carries the international symbol for children, which has only recently started replacing the old sign that stated "STOP CHILDREN" - which would have been the sign used in 1983. See more »
[talking about the school]
We're low in the league. I want to see us up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Askes, Leighton Park... or is that an open prison?
See more »
At the beginning of the film, the title - "The History Boys" - is taken letter by letter from random parts of an essay on the dissolution of the monasteries, a common history topic, which the History Boys themselves write later on in the film. See more »
Where We Go To School Does Not Determine What We Will Become
The History Boys is a very very challenging film for any audience. One of these reasons is that it is driven by extremely eloquent conversations between younger and elder intellectuals, each conversation delving aggressively deep into the corners of conventional logic and subtexts and fleshing them out in what different characters arguably believe are the most truthful ways. Many characters are quite confident and extremely extroverted and the ones who are not so confident are defensively so. Alan Bennett's remarkably clear analysis of the human condition is intimidating.
The other reason is because the story is one beyond social judgment. Perhaps this is purposeful because being written, produced, directed, and acted by English people, class-consciousness is surely existent among them. But that's what I love so much about this film. The audience, in order to understand and enjoy it, must release themselves from the scrutiny of general culture over many, mostly sexual, aspects of life. The film is not about homosexuality, but homosexual goings-on exist prevalently in the story. It's also treated very nonchalantly, and many straight boys are free of any personal sexual burdens that would inhibit them from partaking. The very talked-about homosexual element of the film exists as the most direct example and also the core of the basis of the story, which is the pressure of society's judgmental and devastatingly interfering nature with many things that, if one were truly understanding, would not judge or interfere with. This extends to greater and more complex idealism in the script, such as the philosophy and meaning of education, the satisfactory or unsatisfactory pursuit and outcome of success, the importance of art and poetry, and the point of studying history.
I believe that The History Boys is an extremely important movie, and the fact that it lasted for a single week at a small theater here in Cincinnati is despicable and glaringly, stupidly contradictory to its message.
55 of 83 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this