Sunday, January 16, 2011

The History Boys

Even while watching the opening scenes I was wondering whether I should really enjoy the movie - it was very obvious, from the opening scenes, that I would. But it was not wholly indulgent and not wholly sentimental. There were genuinely good bits there. Apart from the various buttons of mine that it very expertly happened to push. Sentimentality is one of the worst sins, if not the worst, and much loved by Hollywood (and West End and Broadway). Indulgence is the invariable companion to it: things too pretty, solutions too easy, all sugared by cheap sentiment, sugaring it in turn. You can of course err in the other direction as well with too easy cynicism, killing all emotion, all sympathy. A narrow path to negotiate. Anyway, history is a curious beast - and we curious pray (but we are not only pray). This state of affairs was not totally hidden by the movie, so I think my enjoyment was permissible after all...

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