History Boys (Movie)
There can't be many people under 40 for whom the lost convention of the"seventh-term" Oxbridge exam means anything, and even among the over-40s, it isn't exactly a cultural touchstone, like the 11-plus. But until 20 years ago, this was how post-A-level teenagers at top schools prepared for the now abolished entrance examinations for Oxford and Cambridge Universities: they came back after the summer for one more term of cramming - sometimes in a daringly relaxed, proto-collegiate style - before sitting the papers just before Christmas. It is this arena of callow and precocious learning in which Alan Bennett set his smash-hit 2004 play about a bunch of bright young lads at a Sheffield grammar school, going all out for Oxbridge glory. This has now been turned into a stagey and oddly contrived movie directed by Nick Hytner, with the kind of elaborate, highly worked dialogue that is exhilarating in the theatre, but rather unreal-sounding on the big screen.
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