Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 55 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 100
    In The History Boys, as in all of Bennett's work, irony is what the characters live and breathe - and I mean irony in its truest sense, of using language to present opposite and often sly alternatives to accepted wisdom.
  2. 88
    A shrewdly acted, bittersweet comedy.
  3. The screen, like the stage, can barely contain this marvelous play of intelligence.
  4. This is a piece engineered to run on the high octane of clever dialogue. It's chatty, it's wordy, but a passion for the well-written word lies at the thematic heart of the thing, and cinematic flourishes would only clog the arteries. Purists can rest assured -- there's no clogging.
  5. If you liked the play and the compelling ideas Bennett kicks around, the movie makes for an intellectually invigorating couple of hours.
  6. 70
    An excellent British drama adapted by Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George) from his celebrated play.
  7. With the original stage cast, the film is doggedly faithful to the play but has failed to translate it into much of a film.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 28
  2. Negative: 8 out of 28
  1. IgbyE.
    Apr 22, 2007
    The History Boys carries with it a wit and charm unmatched by few movies. It uses language to woo you, excite you and move you. However, most of all, entertain you in a delightfully sly and British way. Expand
  2. NK
    Jun 6, 2007
    Just saw same on video and just felt some of the criticisms of the film need correcting. first, the film does not state that the teacher's rather pathetic gropings are ok. neither is everyone ok with it. indeed, the teacher's best friend, the woman teacher is rather saddened to learn of it. and he is about to be fired for same. that said, the boys are 18 not 17 as the voice-over in the extra features makes clear. this extra term in preparing for university was abolished in the early 80s, and it was set before then. the boys find it all rather boring; they have bigger concerns. if one can look beyond the sex and longing and sadness, this is a fascinating discussion about what makes for the best teaching: facts, argument, or interest. but, as the comments suggest, few look past the sex. great acting, too. Expand
  3. Nov 8, 2014
    Equal parts heart-warming and hilarious. This film features a star-studded cast, from before they were stars, with the best performances coming from Dominic Cooper, Jamie Parker, and although in a smaller role Russel Tovey. Expand
  4. ClaytonT.
    Dec 20, 2006
    It has that rare factor where it stays with you long after you have seen it.
  5. ChristopherW.
    Apr 27, 2007
    Good performances from a likable cast and some rich dialogue can't offset the gregariously obvious stage origins of this film. This somewhat stodgy film translation may please most those that are familiar with the play, but even they might be left wanting as the film version is a noticeably truncated version of its stage predessor. Not bad! ...but, I wouldn't recommend it! Expand
  6. DanielB.
    Jan 19, 2007
    My girl friend and I went to this movie on my insistence, based on positive reviews. We lasted maybe 40 minutes before leaving. A great disappointment. I found it rather pretentious and although I enjoyed the little skit in French (especially because I could understand it with their very clear, British accented French), I couldn't see how that made the play smarter. It just seemed to make it harder for the average viewer to appreciate. The actor who played the professor was excellent, but I found the students to be rather undistinguished except in their appearance, as in, oh there's the fat guy and there's the Asian. I was a little offended that the most sensitive likable student was gay. I know that is possible, but it sounds rather like a setup. I lived in England for a year in the mid-80s and taught there, though in a junior school (ages 7-11), but these students still seemed more dramatic types than kids I'd really see in a classroom there. Anyway, we left after I started dozing off. We walked across the hall and watched about 10 minutes of a Bollywood movie. Now that's something you should see, not because they're good, but because you'd neve expect them to be that way. Sort of like sexed-up, modern Elvis movies. Expand
  7. UmbertoS.
    Jan 16, 2007
    I HATED this movie. It was excruciating to sit through. Tedious. Ugh. The rest of the small audience was about 65 years old and laughed at things that were just not funny. I would rather be stabbed in the leg with a fork than sit through it again. Expand

See all 28 User Reviews