The small-scale study of a boarding school shows pupils rehearsing Teenage Kicks and flourishing under the tutelage of some gifted teachers
This endearing documentary tracks life at Headfort, a boarding prep school in Ireland where an assortment of kids, mostly local but also further flung corners of the world, grow and seemingly flourish under the tutelage of some especially gifted teachers. Although it would seem all the staff at the school care deeply about their charges, the focus is most of all on a married pair, John and Amanda Leyden, who have been with the school for over 40 years. She inspires the pupils with her passionate love of literature; he teaches them not just Latin but also how to do pretty credible ensemble renditions of Teenage Kicks in the school’s graffiti-covered music building. Imagine Fred Wiseman directing a remake of School of Rock but in Ireland and you’re almost there, but with more incidental music and a closer focus on the charming characters. By the end, viewers are likely to feel passionately engaged with whether shy Eliza will come out of her shell and whether cheeky Ted will be able to reschedule his confirmation so he can play the ghost in Hamlet.