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Brian Jackson (James McAvoy) is a working class kid with exceptional general knowledge but little common sense. He achieves his dream to study at Bristol University and his ambition to appear on the television quiz University Challenge ... but he finds life complicated. He falls in love with his beautiful team-mate Alice (Alice Eve) but things don't go as planned. His conscience is continually challenged by rights activist Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) and his best friend from home, Spencer (Dominic Cooper), confronts him with truths he doesn't want to hear.

Review by Louise Keller:
James McAvoy delivers a star turn as Brian, a kid from the country obsessed with becoming smart. 'Knowledge is the key to being happy,' his father once told him, but as Brian leaves home for university and selection in the tv quiz, he learns that making mistakes and facing up to his demons is even more important. David Nicholl has adapted his coming of age novel for the screen with plenty of verve, as Brian finds himself out of his depth when it comes to dealing with the most important people in his life. Set in the 80s, it's an engaging coming of age story that encompasses awkward relationships and making decisions.

The moment Brian sees beautiful, blonde Alice (Alice Eve), he is smitten. When she tells him 'You're a general knowledge god,' he feels 10 feet tall. But nothing in their relationship seems to go right. There's their first date at a pizza restaurant, when an innocent question about past boyfriends reveal she has indeed had a past. New Year with her parents (Charles Dance & Lindsay Duncan) in their cottage in Suffolk is a disaster and when he finally plucks up the courage to tell her how he feels about her, he makes an upsetting discovery. He never seems tongue-tied around Rebecca Hall's bright activist Rebecca, although he manages to ruin their friendship without even trying. The same goes for his relationship with his best friend Spencer (Dominic Cooper) who thinks Brian is about to become 'a wanker'.

Everything goes wrong in all areas of Brian's life, and by the time the big day arrives for the all-important tv quiz against last year's champions, the pressure becomes too much. Tensions mount as all the things that are wrong in Brian's life co-exist and bombard him all at once. Starter for 10 has plenty to offer as it takes an insightful look at an idealistic young man who discovers that while things may not turn out as you expect, it is what you do next that really matters.

Published April 10, 2008

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(UK/US, 2006)

CAST: James McAvoy, Rebecca Hill, Catherine Tate, Lindsay Duncan, Charles Dance, mark Gatiss

PRODUCER: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Pippa Harris

DIRECTOR: Tom Vaughan

SCRIPT: David Nicholl (based on his novel)


EDITOR: Jon Harris, Heather Persons

MUSIC: Blake Neely


RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer, interactive 80s quiz, interviews with cast and crew

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Icon Film Distribution

DVD RELEASE: April 9, 2008

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