6.7/10
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Starter for 10 (2006)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 9 March 2007 (USA)
Set in 1985, working-class student Brian Jackson (McAvoy) navigates his first year at Bristol University.

Director:

Tom Vaughan

Writers:

David Nicholls (novel), David Nicholls (screenplay)

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Friend Joseph Friend ... Young Brian
James Gaddas ... Martin Jackson
Catherine Tate ... Julie Jackson
Mark Gatiss ... Bamber Gascoigne
Robert Cawsey Robert Cawsey ... University Challenge Competitor
Rasmus Hardiker ... University Challenge Competitor
Guy Henry ... Dr. Morrison
James McAvoy ... Brian Jackson
James Corden ... Tone
Dominic Cooper ... Spencer
Simon Woods ... Josh
Sule Rimi ... Marcus
Joe Van Moyland Joe Van Moyland ... Hippy at the Party
Rebecca Hall ... Rebecca Epstein
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Patrick Watts
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Storyline

In 1985, against the backdrop of Thatcherism, Brian Jackson enrolls in the University of Bristol, a scholarship boy from seaside Essex with a love of knowledge for its own sake and a childhood spent watching "University Challenge," a college quiz show. At Bristol he tries out for the Challenge team and falls under the spell of Alice, a lovely blond with an extensive sexual past. He's smitten, and he carelessly manages to hurt the feelings of Rebecca Epstein, a friend whose politics and wit he admires. The Challenge finale is coming up; maybe Brian can redeem himself and still avoid being a prat. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Starter for 10 See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,141, 25 February 2007

Gross USA:

$216,839

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,730,047
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rebecca Hall and Alice Eve both play characters that match their own first name. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in late 1985/early 1986, but after the students argue in the car they turn on the radio and hear "Wonderful Life" by Black - which was not released until late in the summer of 1987. See more »

Quotes

Rebecca Epstein: Happy New Year, Brian.
Brian Jackson: Happy New Year, Alice.
Rebecca Epstein: Alice?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits the theme music from the BBC program University Challenge (1962), which the title of the film refers to, is played. See more »

Connections

References Casablanca (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

Teenage Kicks
Performed by The Undertones
Written by John Joseph O'Neill
Published by Universal Music Corp. o/b/o West Bank Songs Ltd.
Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
University Challenged - A love song to the other British Eighties...
20 April 2007 | by inteleartsSee all my reviews

Tom Hanks knows what he's doing when he puts his ha'penny's worth in as an executive producer - this has had sleeper hit written all over it from day one.

Lovingly made, with a nicely observed, but still sweet, story of social and socialist morals in the Eighties, it is evocative and rings (mostly) true. The performances are solid, the director gets the era right; but, and here it scores great points: it also has some real soul, and though in places an exercise in capturing its time it has a real wit, and intelligence as well as deprecating humour that serve it well.

Funny, intelligent, and definitely deeply romantic - it is also an amazing nostalgia trip for those of us who were around in Britain at that time. The production design has obviously been at great odds to make this work; from the posters in the student bedsit to the clothing it is very well thought through. Aided by a very competent script, that is just too worked through and lacks some real teeth to be really outstanding - it is much better than most American romantic comedies as it is so much more than boy meets (two) girls (and well you know the rest)...it actually touches a much wider world, and questions some values that are worth remembering. Moreover, even at its most manipulative it still somehow has real heart, and just carries you along.

It would have been great to have balanced the many laughs with some more complex dilemmas - but this is a surprisingly rounded comedy - a definite must for those who remember Britain in 1985 - without bashing at the politics endlessly - but it is just as enjoyable as a great romantic drama-comedy in its right... the Wedding Singer with much bigger brains...

Overall, impressive for its evocation of a lost age - before brands and spending took over the world - and it is guaranteed to make you grin - especially if you were there - and to sing - along. The theme of University Challenge alone will reduce a whole generation to wobbly nostalgic has beens. Excellent stuff, and one to be simply enjoyed.


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