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Starter for 10 (2006)



Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 68 | Rotten: 8

Starter For 10 is a spirited coming-of-age tale that remains charming and witty even as it veers into darker teritory. The unique setting of a quiz show makes the film wittier than your average romantic comedy.


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 5

Starter For 10 is a spirited coming-of-age tale that remains charming and witty even as it veers into darker teritory. The unique setting of a quiz show makes the film wittier than your average romantic comedy.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 18,695

My Rating

Movie Info

A working-class English boy who has been fortunate enough to be accepted into a posh private university struggles to realize his lifelong dream while simultaneously winning the heart of the girl he loves in a romantic, bittersweet comedy directed by Tom Vaughan and starring James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall, and Charles Dance. The time is the mid-'80s, and the University Challenge phenomenon is sweeping through England. Despite his underprivileged background, Essex boy Brian Jackson (McAvoy) knows that


Drama, Romance, Comedy

David Nicholls

Jul 31, 2007


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All Critics (78) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (8) | DVD (10)

Conventional, slight, but charming.

December 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's nothing here we haven't seen done better before.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is expertly crafted entertainment that follows all the beats of a traditional romantic comedy, but it's done with such sincerity that it's difficult to begrudge the odd descent into cliché.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[The film] bears many of the hallmarks of teen comedies, but also boasts virtues not generally associated with the genre, such as wit, class consciousness, multidimensional characters, and a penetrating intelligence.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some nice performances and modest laughs highlight this amiable British comedy about a young man who goes off to Bristol University in the mid-'80s and does what young people naturally do when they go to college.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Written by David Nicholls, adapting his own novel, and directed by Tom Vaughan, a British TV veteran making his feature debut, Starter for 10 clips along smartly.

March 16, 2007
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a perfectly watchable (yet far-from-memorable) romantic comedy/coming-of-age story.

April 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Pure feel-good romantic nostalgia, whether you lived in 1980's London or not.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source:

A sweet, funny nostalgia trip back to the '80s for the anglophile in all of us.

August 26, 2008 Full Review Source:

Sharp jokes and heady nostalgia ensure it will at least please a wide audience.

June 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

James McAvoy delivers a star turn as Brian, a kid from the country obsessed with becoming smart.

April 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

There is an utter lack of visual energy at every turn, like every single take in the final cut was the last shot on that day of shooting.

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

McAvoy carries the picture confidently enough as a leading man, and there is a nice performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian

A modest and very British movie.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Enjoyably fluffy romantic comedy with a witty script, an 80s-tastic soundtrack and a superb comic performance from James McAvoy.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Has a strong story and engaging characters, even if it never really says anything terribly deep or meaningful.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

A film whose own wisdom about the world seems principally derived from innumerable coming-of-age tales.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Starter For Ten comfortably makes the grade for rib-tickling entertainment.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source:

This is a true winner, and the smartest comedy you will see this year.

September 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This amiable British romantic comedy further confirms the gifts of star James McAvoy.

August 20, 2007 Full Review Source:

Starter for 10 brings a fresh approach to an old formula and the result is a romantic comedy that hits all the right buttons.

July 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

enjoyable if lightweight entertainment

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Starter for 10

A young James McAvoy delivers in Starter For 10, a slightly cliched romance-comedy feature.
September 10, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

What's not to love about a nebbish, made-under James McAvoy with daddy issues? As with Rachel Weisz, I prefer Rebecca Hall's American accent to her own British.
August 6, 2011

Super Reviewer

This is the one movie the cliches of a romcom can be completely forgiven as the adaptation of David Nicholls' own novel still imparts its conventional wit and characterization that completely worked out with the script and its genre. It's a bit shy on its dramatic aspect but there's its romantic moments and comic scenes that stood out and that distinguishes itself from other romcom flicks.
June 13, 2011
Jakey Labios

Super Reviewer

How could I dislike a film with this many Cure songs?
I was impressed by McAvoy's comic timing, which doesn't come through in a lot of his other work. There were also some nice, charming moments as McAvoy attempts to make his way in academe. But as a whole, the film is remarkably predictable, and it checks off almost all of the motifs of a coming-of-age, rom-dramedy. Despite all its flaws, there are many fun, eighties-tastic moments.
August 22, 2010
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

    1. Brian Jackson: Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to be clever. Some people are born clever the same way some people are born beautiful. I'm not one of those people. I'm gonna have to work at it. Put in the effort. And if I mess it up, I'll learn from it. Besides, sometimes it's not about knowing the right answer. Sometimes it's about asking the right question.
    – Submitted by Francesco M (3 years ago)
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