The History Boys (2006)
An unruly class of gifted and charming teenage boys are taught by two eccentric and innovative teachers, as their headmaster pushes for them all to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge.
The History Boys-which opens as a movie shortly after closing as a Broadway play-takes off from the resolve of the school's headmaster (Clive Merrison) to redouble his efforts to get his boys into Oxford or Cambridge, and his engagement of an Oxford graduate, Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore), to prepare them for the entry exam. The youngish, skinny Irwin's perspective is bracing in its cynicism. He does not preach conformism-just the opposite. He denounces "sheer competence." He directs his students to express a striking and original point of view-even if they don't believe a word of what they say. Forget about Mozart, he urges one boy: Tell them you love Tippett or Bruckner. "But I don't know them," says the boy.
My thanks to Kevin Lee for pointing out this Bruckner connection.