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Movie Review: The History Boys

Alternate Title: Teacher's Pet

Story: There have been many films about the relationship between great teachers and eager students and this award wining stage play, now gracefully on your big screen, is one of the best I have seen in this genre.The dynamic duo who brought the play to England and to the rest of the world, director Nicholas Hytner and writer Alan Bennett, have now brought it to the big screen.

I saw the stage play last summer and liked the movie even better (because I was able to hear every word they said). And this play is all about the word. It is written beautifully, it is witty, soulful, intelligent, engaging and challenging.

It takes place in 1983 England, before their education system changed. The boys featured in this film would not have to take this type of exam today to get entry into Oxford or Cambridge. But awhile ago, the best of the class would add another semester to their schooling to cram for the test. This extra semester is what the film is all about. The clashing of styles by two teachers between studying for the exam and going to school to engage and learn to think is the solid stuff we get to enjoy.

I cared for every character and was hanging on every word. Give yourself a holiday treat, go see this wonderful adaptation of an award wining play, get some life lessons and pass it on.

Acting: The original cast from the play is intact and all, give their all. Richard Griffiths (Hector), Frances de la Tour (Mrs. Lintott), Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin), Samuel Barnett (Posner), Dominic Cooper (Dakin), James Corden (Timms), Jamie Parker (Scripps), Russell Tovey (Rudge), Samuel Anderson (Crowther), Sacha Dhawan (Akhtar), Andrew Knott (Lockwood), Penelope Wilton (Mrs. Bibby), Adrian Scarborough (Wilkes), Georgia Taylor (Fiona) and Clive Merrison (Headmaster).

Predilection: I like to be challenged when I go to the movies. Thinking is a good thing.

Critters: None

Food: No time to eat when you are cramming for exams.

Blatant Product Placement: None

Soundtrack: Terrific.

Theater Audience: About 20 other movie-goers and us. I was surprised by the age range in the audience.

Weather: Surprisingly lovely in England.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I did not drift for a nanosecond.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Perhaps a nod for best adaptation from another medium.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine. For some other films about schooling, try: Teacher's Pet, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Good-bye Mr Chips (the original), Dead Poet's Society, Mr. Holland's Opus and Stand and Deliver among many others.

Length: Under two hours