The History Boys

The History BoysI’ve been sitting on this movie for a while, it has been on my MediaCenter for a few months now and I’ve been unable to bring myself to watch it, knowing it didn’t do too well in the cinemas.

Two things have raised my interest and made it a little more appealling… the first is that this movie (based on a play) is now a play on show here in Melbourne and the seconds is a scathing review by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Miranda Devine.

The History Boys was a great movie… while some have referred to it as a “Dead Poet’s Society” or “The Emporer’s Club” it is only partly shares their plot lines.

It IS about the final high school term of a group of well educated young men who, with any luck, will become attendees of their choice of England’s most prestigious schools.

The History Boys IS about the relationships among the boys and the shared relationships with their teachers.

But it is not, as Ms Devine would have you believe, “…a fraud. It is a pederastic fantasy about teachers who fondle their students’ genitals in the nicest way and the boys don’t mind at all.”

Devine later goes on to say “It’s about a British boys’ school in the 1980s where all the students are openly or latently gay.” ALL the students? Only ONE of the students believes himself to be “homosexual”, the other students, knowing this and that two of their teachers are gay, play up to it. If Miranda Devine can’t tell the difference she has some serious issues and no place in reviewing films.

I think she was watching another movie, or if you read the rest of her story you may agree with me and feel that perhaps she didn’t watch it at all. I mean if she wasn’t moved by the last scene as Ms Lintott talks to the boys about what they became in the future then you perhaps didn’t connect with the characters on the way through the film.

I’m going to be honest and say I don’t think I have read a single thing that Miranda Devine wrote and actually agreed with her. She is a sensationalist who will gladly make a grab for the button she thinks will cause the most stir.

Watch History Boys, be moved… form your own opinion.

Last weekend I ran into a friend, who is no prude, reeling out of a suburban theatre with his wife and two preteen children. They had walked out of The History Boys just as straight boy Dakin asks his teacher Irwin, “if there was any chance of your sucking me off”.

My friend felt he had been tricked by the M rating and misleading advertising into taking his children to a grossly unsuitable movie which normalises pedophile behaviour and promotes a world view in which heterosexuality is aberrant, women repulsive and marriage a sham.

How exactly was Devine’s friend “tricked” by the rating? The Office of Film & Literature Classification clearly had it listed as “Moderate themes and sexual references, Moderate coarse language” which you will see by visiting The History Boys on the OFLC website, or by looking at the classification labelling on any of the movie’s marketing material.

Ms Devine’s friends walked out of the movie just 5-10 minutes before its end, the “groping” happened within the first half hour… nothing untoward happens between these two things.

If anything should be judged, perhaps it is the actions of Ms Devine’s “friend” choosing to take his two pre-teen children to a movie that is clearly rated M and not intended for a young (or family) audience.

See the movie… it’s not so bad.

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