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The History Boys

A class of bright and funny history students at a Yorkshire grammar school pursue an undergraduate place at Oxford or Cambridge. Bounced between their maverick English master, a young and shrewd teacher hired to up their test scores, a grossly out-numbered history teacher, and a headmaster obsessed with results, the boys discover that there is more to the pursuit of learning than exams and grades.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

60

Variety by

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.
75

USA Today by Claudia Puig

The History Boys is an erudite, sharply written film with consummate performances, but its origins on the stage are all too obvious.
80

The New Yorker by David Denby

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.
63

TV Guide Magazine by Ken Fox

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.
75

Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

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.
80

The New York Times by Stephen Holden

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.

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