I wanted to like The History Boys more than I did. It’s successful as far as stage adaptations to the big screen go (and a rare opportunity to see an original cast transferred in tact to the film version) but I didn’t find the story nearly as entertaining or unique as I’d hoped it would be.
The story centers on a classroom of public school students preparing for the exams that will hopefully get them into Oxford and Cambridge. Their inspirational leader of all things educationally eclectic is Hector (Richard Griffiths), a rotund teacher of “general studies.” From what I gather here, GS is a little bit poetry, a little bit singing, a smattering of French, the impromptu reenactment of classic film scenes, and a twist of camp. Not surprisingly, the headmaster doesn’t feel Hector’s classes are enough to push their most promising students over the finish line, so he assigns a young, new teacher to give these boys an intense crash course to prepare.
Classroom shenanigans, coming-of-age drama, blah blah blah. With all the hype this film received, I really expected more. Not much surprised me–certainly not the ending–save for all the matter-of-fact homosexual references that I kept thinking would certainly have called for Hector’s firing long ago. [** 1/2 out of 5]