Critic Reviews



Based on 32 critic reviews provided by
Village Voice
The film version of The History Boys is a lesser thing, more fixed in space and time and rendered almost unbearably "cinematic" in patches by Hytner's gymnastic camerawork. Yet the ideas and feelings of the piece remain so rich that it almost doesn't matter.
The movie is brilliant and infectious, much like Bennett's voice: English-deadpan but never snide, and generous to a fault.
Revved by the stage performances, the cast courses through the material with disciplined exuberance--especially the eight young actors at the center of the drama, many of whom have never appeared in a film before.
The current of intellectual energy snapping through the ferociously engaging screen adaptation of Alan Bennett’s Tony Award-winning play feels like electrical brain stimulation.
Rolling Stone
The film can't hide its stage origins, and in cutting almost an hour on the journey from stage to screen some resonance is lost. But Bennett's dialogue sparkles and skewers with killer wit. Dig in.
The History Boys is an erudite, sharply written film with consummate performances, but its origins on the stage are all too obvious.
If you liked the play and the compelling ideas Bennett kicks around, the movie makes for an intellectually invigorating couple of hours.
Now seen for the first time in close-up, these "boys" are well past adolescence, which makes Bennett's sympathy for poor Hector a bit easier to take.
New York Daily News
The play's most acclaimed performance - rotund Richard Griffiths as the closeted teacher Hector - is great in the movie, too.
Audiences coming cold to this largely faithful adaptation of Alan Bennett's clever but contrived classroom comedy won't be so wowed, given picture's irrevocably stagy feel. Nicholas Hytner's flat-footed direction doesn't help, nor do picture's younger cast members' over-rehearsed performances, although the seasoned thesps shine.

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