Starter For 10 - Guest Review




Directed by Tom Vaughan

Starring James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall and Alice Eve

Driven by his thirst for knowledge Brian Jackson (James McAvoy) stumbles through his first year at Bristol University. Whilst seeking his dream of appearing on University Challenge Brian falls for a fellow team mate Alice (Alice Eve). Hoping for romance, knowledge, success and trying not to become the wanker his childhood friends think he will become Brian embarks on his journey.
We all know there aren’t many intelligent painfully funny British comedies out there, about a boys’ search for wisdom. However this Sam Mendes’ Neal Street Productions holds all the qualities we have come to associate with Mendes. This adaptation of David Nicholls' best selling novel is full to the brim with well-groomed witty humour. If you’re thinking of About A Boy, ignore this. Cast your mind to The History Boys and add more √©lan.
Determined to make his deceased Dad proud Brian heads off Bristol University where he encounters many new life experiences, moving away from home, smoking his first spliff, falling head over heal for a girl, brawling with his best mate and repeatedly making school boy errors. These blunders continue from the first to the last minute - [SPOILER!] cheating in the final of University Challenge- ruining his childhood dream.
With the overwhelming 80s nostalgia booming from every soundtrack “Boys Don’t Cry- The Cure” there’s no chance of mistaking the backdrop of Thatcherism. Political views are prominent as ever as Brian gets swept up in every campaign from women’s rights to equality in order to befriend the doting Rebecca Ebstein (Rebecca Hall). Jumping at the chance to join the University Challenge Team, he meets his first love- Alice Harbinson- which is shortly lived. After making an unexpected encounter with her naked parents or as they see it trying to “seduce Mrs Harbinson”- their relationship quickly deteriorates. 
Round of applause for this outstanding cast, without these supporting roles the plot would just crumble. Who would think that Catherine Tate known for her comedy could bring a heart warming, sensitive side and of course dry humour to the film. Popping up throughout with her beloved “Mr Wippy”- Des (John Henshaw) really makes a splash from the first moment we meet him. You either love him or you hate him. Patrick Watts (Benedict Cumberbatch) plays the most convincing ostentatious captain- constantly supplying top class comical moments.
Let’s face it there aren’t many humorous intellectual films about today without being destroyed by cheap jokes- this films is an exception. At its centre Brian Jackson, youthful and enthusiastic, played by the gorgeous James McAvoy, delivers comedy in a dramatic sense on various levels. Your emotions will surge right through this film from start to finish. In contrast with the mixed feeling for Margaret Thatcher, James McAvoy is becoming one of the great actors of his generation- with Narnia and Shameless under his belt at this point- his undisputed reputation is growing.
Like most University memories this film is full of funny, embarrassing and life changing moments which will stay with you forever. It is top of its league for comedies this year. A definite must see.

Rating: 8
A big thank you to our guest reviewer Katie who was kind enough to contribute to the blog with this great review!

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