This fine new film from Nicholas Hytner, based on the Alan Bennett play he directed in London and on Broadway (where he won a Tony), stars the original cast of those productions; the result has some of the most lived-in, exquisite performances given in a movie this year, with Richard Griffiths as the standout. His Hector is a culture teacher at an all-boys school in Sheffield in the early 1980s who’s charged with introducing the finer things in life to a group preparing for their university qualifying exams. Hector’s dominance is threatened by the arrival of a new teacher (Stephen Campbell Moore) hired to help the boys pass — at whatever cost. Of course, the pair’s teaching styles clash. Bennett’s dialogue is sharp and funny, and the boys emerge as distinct personalities. Hector wheedles and cajoles, and in return they give him their minds and occasionally their bodies. It’s the best film you’ll ever see that has not one but two studying montages.
On the Web
The History Boys's Web site: http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/thehistoryboys/