Did Guy Burgess's time at Eton set him on the path to spying for the USSR? This is a picturesque tale of life at the Elysian academy. Baby Rupert Everett swoons & pouts prettily over the gilded boy across the quad. Baby Colin Firth swoons over the collectivisation of agriculture & Stalin's 5-year plan. Young gay love collides with the rigid orthodoxy of privilege & power. Stagy at times but enjoyably easy on the eye.
Social mores have changed and thank god! What I'll say: this one's a wee bit saccharine, the sound engineering is unpardonable, Bennett surely enjoyed the caning, and gosh is Carey Elwes dreamy! Honorable mention for Colin Firth, perhaps in his first role as the uptight martinet who later dominates his repertoire. Also: set at Eton, it's obviously shot at Oxford. Could they have picked some less obvious landmarks?
A very English, very special-interest movie with a lot of talking, whose saving grace is a brilliant young Rupert Everett. This is not a spy film. Not in the least. If you are unfamiliar with English public school traditions and lack a particular interest in male homosexuality, expect to be very bored. (Btw, highly recognizable Oxford Univ. locations are presented as part of the boarding school—bizarre.)
I do not know much about the context of the film. However, I felt it was lacking. To me the story is not too satisfying, and leaves one desiring something more concrete, or understandable. Technically, the film is fine, but I feel it just fits into the British Drama from the 80s genre. That is, there is not much that sets it apart, but like I said, maybe I need to know more of the context.