Testament of Youth

See Alicia Vikander before she was famous, Dominic West in his authentic accent, and Emily Watson being stellar as always in increasingly diminished roles.

Vera Brittain was a real-life independent spirit. She vied for and won a spot at Oxford and vowed “never to marry”, even if those sounded like famous last word when uttered just as a very cute boy enters the picture. Turns out, he has Testament-of-Youth_3141581ka thing for sharp and feisty young women, and the two are a love match and plan to be at Oxford at the same time (unchaperoned, even). But every great love story needs an obstacle and feminism wasn’t enough, so along came The Great War to shake things up.

Tag line: Divided by war. United by love. Did you just puke a little in your mouth?la-et-mn-testament-of-youth-review-20150605

Luckily the tagline writer was an aberration and the film itself is quite good. Vera’s mind expands and excels at Oxford, and no one is less grateful for her education than she. Women still have to prove themselves worthy of degrees and now she’s feeling left behind again, when her brother, her friends, and her love are all leaving for the front. But Vera’s not one to take a back seat – soon she’s giving up her beloved scAlicia-Vikander-as_3141524bhool to become a nurse.

Vikander (who replaced Saoirse Ronan) is every bit the revelation that Ex Machina proved she was. She’s poised and luminous, and while the movie doesn’t contribute much that is new to the war genre, Vikander makes it more than worth a look.

Her The Danish Girl co-star, Eddie Redmayne, also starred in his own WW1 eddieepic, called Birdsong (based on the Faulks of the same name). He plays a young man who goes off to war remembering the affair he had with his French (married) sweetheart. Clemence Poesy is beautiful as ever, but this one may leave you feeling faintly unsatisfied.

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7 thoughts on “Testament of Youth

  1. Big Screen Small Words

    I expected the movie to be quite a romantic drama (I don’t think I’ve seen the trailer) and it wasn’t, but I still liked it. Vikander was great, although I preferred her here rather than in Danish Girl.

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