The History Boys Reviews

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July 6, 2010
The play's the thing -- the only thing -- here
April 15, 2009
In attempting to absolve the perverse actions of a teacher on the basis of his apparent tutoring skills, Alan Bennett has created a dubious work of fiction that is beyond empathy or humor.
December 19, 2007
The transfer from stage to film doesn't always go smoothly, as it's hard to shake the film's theater roots.
February 3, 2007
January 2, 2007
It's too bad that the film loses its way because The History Boys asks some interesting questions about what to learn and how to use it.
December 30, 2006
December 27, 2006
...despite all the earnestness...the characters and their tribulations never engage our sympathy or interest.
December 26, 2006
The unique duplication of stage cast to screen cast might be the most exciting thing about this conventional classroom exercise.
December 22, 2006
Taking a production pretty much intact from stage to screen robs it of its surprises. The cast seems to know what's coming, and so do we. There's not a single moment where you sense 'discovery' taking place.
December 22, 2006
A funny thing happened to The History Boys on the way to the screen. The players are the same, the dialogue is pretty much identical, but the vibrancy of the play -- its exhilarating immediacy -- has been muted.
December 22, 2006
The film becomes a sermonette on tolerance. But with its one-sidedness, it fails to practice what it preaches.
December 21, 2006
During a mock-interview, Dorothy lays out the film's simultaneous awareness and exploitation of its own limits. 'Imagine how depressing it is to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude.'
December 19, 2006
Easily compared to Dead Poet's Society, the British classroom comedy is unable to shake its stagy origins, with claustrophobic settings and contrived dialogue.
December 15, 2006
The film feels like a pedestrian delivery system for other people's brilliant work.
December 15, 2006
There are no spontaneous moments on screen: The characters aren't reacting to each other; they're waiting for the cut to deliver a line they've had memorized since [the play] played the London National.
December 15, 2006
Although grounded in the fact-based world of academia, The History Boys offers little of substance.
December 14, 2006
Bennett's themes are vague, muddled and poorly thought out, the more realistic medium of cinema makes his language contrived (especially when coming out of the mouths of babes) and Hytner's direction is stagy.
December 14, 2006
History Boys fails because Nicholas Hytner, who also directed it onstage, didn't rethink it for the movies.
December 13, 2006
[T]oo stagey, and yet it lacks the vital energy of the stage production it is adapted from...
November 28, 2006
There's a whiff of the canned here; these actors may have played their parts once too often for the camera to register any real freshness.
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