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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)
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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
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Did You Know?


Stars 3 actors who would go on to play Marvel characters. James McAvoy starred in X Men First Class as the young Charles Xavior, Dominic Cooper plays Howard Stark in Captain America and Agent Carter and Benedict Cumberbatch will shortly star as Doctor Strange. Also Rebecca Hall would co-star in Iron Man 3. See more »


The single 'Pictures of You' by the Cure was not released until 1990, the film is set in 1985 See more »


Brian Jackson: I admit it. I'd made some mistakes. Okay, some big mistakes. Loads of them. But you can't hide in your room forever feeling sorry for yourself. It's not practical. At some point, you've got to get back out there, face up to things, and confront your demons. Ever since I can remember, I'd wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever, same way some people are born beautiful. I'm not one of those people. I'm going to have to work at it, put in the effort, and if I mess it up, I'll learn from ...
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »


Wonderful Life
Performed by Colin Vearncombe (as Black)
Written by Colin Vearncombe
Published by Hornall Brothers Music Ltd
Courtesy of Nero Schwarz Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

An Entertaining Piffle
3 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Though he's been acting since 1995, young James McAvoy is poised to become the next great European import based on his kindly faun Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia and his wide-eyed work in The Last King of Scotland alongside Forest Whittaker's fierce Idi Amin. Yet sometimes a performer's measure isn't in their solid ensemble acting, but how they carry a minor work with the sheer force of talent or personality.

McAvoy's turn in Starter for Ten as frosh geek Brian Jackson, at University in 1985, is wondrously physical and inspired. He's graced with an infinitely pliable, benevolent face that's both plain and handsome. As a smart, shy working class boy, still reeling from the loss of his father years ago, McAvoy wields Jackson's intelligence as both sword and shield – he draws you to him with his wit, and keeps you at arm's length with the same. For all his smarts, he's at a loss when drawn to both the enigmatic Julie (the piercingly funny Catherine Tate) – a partner on the school's quiz team – and the politically active Rebecca (the gangly beauty Rebecca Hall who hits low vocal notes reminiscent of Emma Thompson).

Directed by Tom Vaughan from an agile screenplay by David Nicholls, Starter for Ten is the best movie John Hughes would have made if he was English and set his comedies in college instead of high school. Though predictable and erratically paced, there's a real suggestion of university life in it. And McAvoy's creation wrings true emotion. He has a showcase scene in a restaurant where he goes from laughter to tears within the same sentence – you're with him all the way. The movie is an entertaining piffle, but it serves notice that you just might be watching the birth of a star.

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