... spoken by Hector, who teaches "General Studies," as played by Richard Griffiths in "The History Boys" (available on DVD)
Written by Alan Bennett (based on his play) and directed by Nicholas Hytner, "The History Boys" is like "Dead Poets Society" minus all of the Hollywood trappings.
Or one could argue, it's the students from "Dead Poets Society" on crack.
An aside, March 21, 2008: To be fair to "Dead Poets Society," I watched it again, and one theme that I love about both of these films is the idea of non-conformity. Or rather, just thinking for yourself, right or wrong, and following through with head and heart.
With "The History Boys," you have actors you've most likely never heard of in the States. In Finland, the name of the film was changed to "Wild Generation," which is kind of cool in itself, but "The History Boys" remains, finally, the best title of them all, for its simplicity, yes, and innocence that has a whole lot of experience (my apologies to William Blake).
The film is wonderful -- beautiful, actually, and one could also argue, "gorgeous" in the best possible use of that word. It's a film that has enough meat (or hearty vegetables) to stick to your bones in so many respects, long after watching. And it's an absolutely brilliant move to keep the original cast from the play, which moved from London to Broadway, and ultimately to the silver screen. These actors are living the parts, and that shows through every singular performance.
There's a little something for everyone here, including the bit of scandal, and themes from sexuality to the unconditional bonds and understanding of friendship -- and perhaps it's that last piece of acceptance of our friends that really makes "The History Boys" work. Maybe you'll think, this kind of acceptance couldn't happen in the real world, but one would hope that it can, and does.
Of course, the love of literature -- and music -- and even classic film -- well, it all adds up to great material -- to the point of inspiring.
Politicians could learn much from Alan Bennett's script. The "spin" on history is key, as a group of grammar school boys try to gain admission to the prestigious Oxford. How do you accomplish this? Try a lot of creativity with your exam answers. In short, history can be boring, or it can be exciting -- exhilarating even. You choose your own approach. The truth, as well, can be a bland exercise of words on paper, or it can become lively debate.
Are we to blindly accept truth, as written in the history books, or told/taught to us? Not if we intend to learn, and understand the "why," no.
"The History Boys" shows us that we must continually search for our own truths, while being acutely aware of what's so "honest" in those we call our friends, and those we care for, and those we look up to, either because of office or respect.
The truth can be spun, indeed -- but words, the words of the poets, and the lyrics from the best of the songs, and lines from a classic script ... these can never be altered.
Interpretation is allowed, but the words remain the same.
Bravo, you "History Boys!" Bravo!