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Archive for the ‘WRITTEN BY: Alan Bennett’ Category

The History Boys

03 Nov

The History Boys — Directed by Nicholas Hytner. Comedy. A bunch of private school boys cram to get into Oxford with the help of a doughty gay professor who wants to get into their pants. 109 minutes Color 2006.

* * * * *

I had never seen the actors before, but I found them wonderful, particularly Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths, who are fascinating to watch perform a highly literate script in an absolutely realistic tradition freshly. I went to a school like this in England and sat for the exams these boys sit for , so you might say I know the milieu. But that’s not the question. The question is not “verisimilitude” or “meaning” or “morality”. Because those are not on offer here. What is on offer is: can one watch a play and entertain the passions in it without having to draw a conclusion or level a judgment on them? Like them, I passed the test. I enjoyed this piece immensely. If you like “The Corn is Green” with Bette Davis, or “The Browning Version,” this may speak to you — though this story has its wits about it more than either of those, and is, in the best sense of the word, more ruthless. The question is not whether something here is right or wrong or good or bad, it seems to me, but is it provocative? Has the author dealt with material proper to him? Is his tale told well? To all of this I say, Yes! I saw it in a movie house and was thoroughly satisfied. I don’t go to a movie house to be preached to, as a rule, either as a liberal, which I am, or as anything else. And I was not preached to here, but rather met with a work of high imagination with which I could dance. To me it is a joy. It does what movies do best. It was my favorite movie of 2006.

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