Starter For Ten

Starter For Ten Release Date: February 23, 2007

“Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be clever,” Brian Jackson confesses in voice over at the start of “Starter For Ten.” A working-class student from Essex navigating his first year at Bristol University, Brian (James McAvoy) has a lot to prove. While his hometown mates(1) worry about him turning into a poncey(2) wanker(3), Brian’s biggest concern is making the team for the long-running British television quiz show University Challenge. (The game show, which began in 1962 and is something like the UK’s answer to Jeopardy, pits four-member teams from posh(4) universities against each other. “Starter” questions, worth ten points each, give the film its title.) Amidst Tarts & Vicars(5) dances, anti-Apartheid rallies, minging(6) dorm rooms and puffs of marijuana smoke, Brian also finds himself romantically torn between two very different co-eds: ultra-fit(7) blonde bombshell and University Challenge teammate Alice (Alice Eve), and thoughtful, politically-conscious Rebecca Epstein (Rebecca Hall in Christopher Nolan’s THE PRESTIGE). With Margaret Thatcher’s economically depressed Blighty(8) as a backdrop, and a killer, pitchperfect New Wave soundtrack — featuring music by The Cure, Wham!, Bananarama, Yaz, The Smiths, New Order, Tears For Fears, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Buzzcocks, and The Psychedelic Furs — in the foreground, STARTER FOR 10 is the great British teen 80s movie that never was. . . It is also altogether delightful, with UK comedy sensation Catherine Tate co-starring as Brian’s steadfast mum(9), and James McAvoy (“The Chronicles of Narnia,” Mr. Tumnus the Faun) delivering the kind of charming, humorous performance that reinvigorates a genre. Though Brian Jackson knows everything, like all honest coming-of-age stories, “Starter For Ten” is ultimately about its hero discovering the difference between knowledge and wisdom – “Starter For Ten.”

Genres: ComedyDramaRomance
Directed By: Tom Vaughan
Runtime: 92 minutes
Studio: PicH
MPAA Rating PG-13