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Starter for 10 (2006)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 9 March 2007 (USA)
Set in 1985, working-class student Brian Jackson (McAvoy) navigates his first year at Bristol University.



(novel), (screenplay)
4,958 ( 60)

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Friend ...
James Gaddas ...
Robert Cawsey ...
University Challenge Competitor
University Challenge Competitor
Joe Van Moyland ...
Hippy at the Party


In 1985, against the backdrop of Thatcherism, Brian Jackson enrolls in the University of Bristol, a scholarship boy from seaside Essex with a love of knowledge for its own sake and a childhood spent watching "University Challenge," a college quiz show. At Bristol he tries out for the Challenge team and falls under the spell of Alice, a lovely blond with an extensive sexual past. He's smitten, and he carelessly manages to hurt the feelings of Rebecca Epstein, a friend whose politics and wit he admires. The Challenge finale is coming up; maybe Brian can redeem himself and still avoid being a prat. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nagy kvízválasztó  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£207,345 (UK) (10 November 2006)


$210,128 (USA) (23 March 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Co-stars Alice Eve and Benedict Cumberbatch would later work together again in the sequel film Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). See more »


The film is set in late 1985/early 1986, but after the students argue in the car they turn on the radio and hear "Wonderful Life" by Black - which was not released until late in the summer of 1987. See more »


Rebecca Epstein: Brian, are you trying to flirt?
Brian Jackson: [embarrassed] No.
See more »


References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »


College Boy (University Challenge Theme)
Written by Derek New
Published by EMI Blackwood Music Inc.
Courtesy of Granada Television Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Leaves a smile on your face - plain and simple.
27 March 2007 | by (San Francisco, CA, United States) – See all my reviews

Surveying the wreckage of numerous other such films - burdened at their outset with flimsy premises, one-dimensional characters, stale gimmicks that coast on the fumes of pop cultural trends, and implausible "meet-cute" situations - which could not be sustained even with big-name talent, inestimable budgets, and plague-like advertising campaigns, I was understandably sceptical as to how the "romantic comedy" aspect of this film might play out when I first sat down to watch it. In retrospect, I honestly couldn't have been more pleased. Rare indeed is the occasion when I have walked out of a theatre feeling unambiguously good about what I saw, believing that it was well worth the time and money I spent to watch it.

The story forming the basis of "Starter for 10" is handled with a great deal of humour, sensitivity, and intelligence. At no time did any part of it feel forced or contrived, nor was it condescending. Testament to this film's openness and accessibility, the emotional connection that I formed with the primary character (James MacEvoy - may he have a long and distinguished career ahead of him) was subtly cultivated throughout, reinforced by simple - yet heartachingly truthful - moments of confusion, awkwardness, uncertainty, and disappointment of the kind anyone might experience (and probably has) in similar circumstances. "Starter for 10" masterfully captures the spirit of that time in one's life wherein a person fully enters the world and begins to establish her- or himself as an individual.

So often, and unfortunately, it is the case that I see people on the screen with whom I cannot identify, in situations to which I cannot relate (this is typically due in part to the performers' overblown celebrity status and the general "Hollywood" gloss that is spread thickly over the top of everything). Not so where "Starter for 10" is concerned.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that "Starter for 10" references "The Graduate," since I believe it shall, in time, prove itself a worthy descendant of that film's legacy and subsequently receive the higher profile that it deserves.

48 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Any films in which the 'girly' girl wins, over a rival? new_akkount
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