Stephen Holden writes,
. . . Transferred to the screen with its language intact, “The History Boys” inevitably feels less like a movie than like an academic vaudeville show. In one scene the students converse comically in French. Interwoven with the serious monologues are vintage popular songs (“Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”) and scenes from old movies (“Now, Voyager” and “Brief Encounter”) performed by the students with a deadpan playfulness. If these songs and re-enacted film bits seem anachronistic choices for a movie set in the 1980s (the soundtrack includes period rock by the Clash and other groups), without its breezy horseplay “The History Boys” would come across as a drier, English answer to “Dead Poets Society.”
The acting is wonderful. Mr. Moore’s avid Irwin and Mr. Griffiths’s shambling Hector are matched by the extraordinary Frances de la Tour as Dorothy Lintott, the droopy, horse-faced history teacher with a baritone voice who is the wisest and most balanced member of an academic triumvirate. Dorothy belatedly has her say when she observes with an amused exasperation: “History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. History is women following behind with the bucket.”
We know have strong reviews from the New Yorker, NY Magazine and The New York Times.
Carina Chocano of the LA Times also weighs in,
. . . A lively and entertaining disquisition on the purpose and uses of knowledge in a world that cares less about scholarship than quantifiable results, "The History Boys" asks us to ponder the moral consequences of reducing education to a tool for personal advancement, positing history as the infinitely malleable interpretation of recent events. . .
In other news, LA Times' Tom O'Neil is pushing an online chat with Adam Beach from Flags of Our Fathers. O'Neil's love for this film is beyond the absurd.