During the early years of Nazi occupation of France in World War II, romance blooms between Lucile Angellier (Michelle Williams), a French villager, and Bruno von Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts), a German soldier.
Kristin Scott Thomas,
In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.
A long, long time ago, back in the spring of 1914, they were so happy together. There was Vera Brittain, an upper class girl with ideas of her own; and her bright brother Edward; and his group of friends among whom Roland Leighton, wonderful, handsome, sensitive Roland Vera had fallen for... Always having great times together talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, walking, eating, swimming together; all of them envisioning the glittering future they deserved: Vera, despite her father's opposition, would study at Oxford, marry Roland and be a famous writer; Roland, as for him, would be acclaimed as a great poet while Edward and his friends would each become a prominent figure in his respective field... But then came that fateful day on 4 August 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany. All those beautiful dreams were to be shattered one after the other. All except one: Vera wound up becoming a writer... A writer but a pacifist as well.Written by
When the Sister, a Scottish woman in her sixties, instructs Vera and another nurse to prepare two hundred beds by lunchtime, she says to them, "Move it, move it!" This would be anachronistic even in an American hospital at the time, let alone in Britain. It's only one step short of "Haul ass!" See more »
Like no one else... you share that part of my mind that associates itself mostly with ideal things and places... The impression thinking about you gives me is very closely linked with that given me by a lonely hillside or a sunny afternoon... or books that have meant more to me than I can explain... This is grand, but still it isn't enough for this world... The earthly and obvious part of me longs to see and touch you and realise you as tangible.
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During the opening credits, World War I guns can be heard in the background. See more »
Heartbreaking Portrayal of Love and Loss During War
I first read "Testament of Youth" during university and was captivated by the emotionally moving real-life story of love and loss during war. The memoir spurred me on to read more about Vera Brittain, particularly during the World War I period that is the setting of "Testament of Youth." Having read her diary "Chronicle of Youth" and "Letters from a Lost Generation" long before watching this film, I had formed a strong attachment to Vera Brittain almost as if she was a personal friend. Reading her words, it is very easy for anyone, particularly a young, studious person to relate to her and the blossoming romance she describes between herself and her first love, Roland Leighton.
As such, I had extremely high expectations for this film, and was skeptical that Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington would be "my" Vera and Roland--I had such a fixed idea of them in my head. Fortunately Alicia and Kit's performances met my expectations. They had wonderful chemistry and the relationship as portrayed captured the essence of Vera and Roland: the intelligent, witty banter, sweet/innocent flirtatiousness, passion and angst. This relationship is at the heart of the memoir and is the driving force for much of what occurs during and after its commencement, so it was very important for this relationship to be portrayed accurately and to be emotionally moving for the audience, which it certainly was for me.
Supporting characters played by Taron Egerton (Edward) and Colin Morgan (Victor) were also wonderfully portrayed, which was a relief as the relationships with her brother and friend are extremely important in the memoir as well, and just as emotionally moving as the romance between Vera and Roland. As far as the other aspects of the film are concerned, the stirring scenes at the hospital where Vera volunteers as a nurse are gripping and faithfully portray the tumultuous wartime experiences that Vera describes in her memoir.
The highlight for me was the poetry of Roland which is interwoven during key moments in the film. This is a lovely element to the story that I found very touching and it provides a beautiful, emotional backdrop for key scenes.
I really hope this film spurs those who haven't read the memoir/have never heard of Vera Brittain to go on and read "Testament of Youth." The book certainly lingered in my mind for quite some time after I had first read it, and the film likewise recaptured those feelings for me.
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