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Lay Your Sleeping Head, Rex Reed

A critic who can suck like this need never dine alone: On Broadway, The History Boys won the most Tony Awards of any straight dramatic play since Death of a Salesman. The film deserves to win even more: A special … Read More

By / November 15, 2006

A critic who can suck like this need never dine alone:

On Broadway, The History Boys won the most Tony Awards of any straight dramatic play since Death of a Salesman. The film deserves to win even more: A special Academy Award should be created for ensemble work just to honor the entire cast. As the lost and lonely Hector, Richard Griffiths fills the screen with humor and girth, using his red-apple cheeks to mask the sadness and doom in his personal life. Frances de la Tour is splendid in her role as the outnumbered female instructor forced to match brains and wits with a school full of men. All eight of the boys are beyond perfection, especially Dominic Cooper as Dakin, the class stud with the self-assurance and sex appeal to seduce whomever he pleases, regardless of age or gender, and Samuel Barnett as Posner, the sensitive one who loves show tunes and Dakin. When he sings “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” looking directly at Dakin, or fights back tears and says, “I’m a Jew, I’m small, I’m homosexual and I live in Sheffield. I’m fucked,” these moments are nothing short of heartbreaking.

Yeah, I heard Bennett really gayed it up for the celluloid, which is a nice act of adaptation jujitsu (plays are usually more ribald than films), if ultimately distracting from the central genius of "The History Boys." Now we have: a little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or submit to sack fondling.

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