Sunday, November 26, 2006

TRH Movie - The History Boys

Last night Tara and I went to go see The History Boys. After having brunch with Sam, then going to my Restorative Yoga class and starting the housework, it was the perfect way to end the day.

Having not even heard of the Broadway play (shame on me) nor knowing anything about the film with the exception of having seen the trailer before Little Children, I'm glad to report I was pleasantly surprised. It's a sharp, witty drama about a group of boys in their last year of school in England who are all vying for spots at university. And not just any school, but Cambridge and Oxford.

The boys have a wonderful relationship with a teacher, whom they dub "Hector", played by Richard Griffiths, who teaches them not only about literature, but about the importance of learning in life. Hector's place among the boys is challenged by the arrival of Mr. Irwin, hired by the headmaster to get the boys prepared for their admittance exams. The struggle between Hector's old-fashioned methods of teaching and Irwin's inspirational new way influences the boys in different ways.

A true coming of age tale that romanticizes the entire last year of school for the various different boys, the film celebrates the value of knowledge simply for the joy of learning. Like Wonder Boys, it's a movie that doesn't talk down to the audience, that throws in Thomas Hardy, Anne of Cleves and an odd French lesson taking place in a brothel and simply expects you to get it. Gladly, the crowd out last night was up for the challenge.

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