...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

January 05, 2007

The History Boys - 6

While this film is going to get some references to being Dead Poet's Society II, it is in fact not. It does take place at a school, and is about a group of smart students...but the comparisons end about there. The film is much more a comedy (with seriousness just under the surface in the early scenes in the film) and developing into a drama as the characters develop from kids into maturing adults. This is a very British film, it has that sort of humor, wit, and sincerity. The story develops as a boys prep school allows its smartest students to have its own classes as they prepare for the testing and interviewing needed to get into Oxford and Cambridge, the most reputable universities in England. They have an old professor who is interested in them learning a broad spectrum of the humanities, with a new, young teacher who is suppose to teach them the politics of "getting in." The tension between these two approaches challenge the boys, as they try to answer the fundamental question: "what is the relationship between learning and life?" This film does a perfect job of being funny and serious about both the mundane and the esoteric. It never comes off as preachy or over-dramatic, while still intelligently engaging important questions for conversations about the purposes of education.
This is the film version of the popular play that has been playing in the UK since 2004 by Alan Bennett.

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