Archive for the ‘James Kent’ Category

The Virtues of Vera

Testament of Youth

testament_of_youth_ver2

Director: James Kent

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harrington, Taron Egerton, Emily Watson, Dominic West, Hayley Atwell, Miranda Richardson, Colin Morgan, Joanna Scanlan

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander has come a long way from her vivacious debut  as Kitty in Joe Wright’s film Anna Karenina.

In director James Kent’s film adaptation of the 1930’s novel Testament of Youth, Vikander plays aspiring novelist and soon to be pacifist Vera Brittain. The film opens in an idyllic setting  resembling an English summer garden with Vera and her brother Edward played by rising star Taron Egerton, last seen in Legend along with his friends Victor Richardson played by Colin Morgan and the dashing Roland Leighton, wonderfully played by Kit Harrington of the hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones.

As a petulant young woman, Brittain objects to her father buying her a piano and strongly presents her case to her parents played by Emily Watson and Dominic West that all she really desires is to go to Oxford and study literature and classics.

testament_of_youth

At the outset of Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain is portrayed as a strong-minded young woman who was extremely close to her brother Edward and his group of friends which were all destined to study at Oxford. Destiny has different plans when in 1914, Europe is plunged into the bloody and brutal First World War, which initially everyone who enlisted thought would only lost a couple of months.

Her brother and his friends all enrol into the British army and go and fight in France, in the muddy trenches and soon the War develops into a brutal protracted affair. Vera soon abandons her plans for Oxford and enrols to be a nurse to assist the war effort.

Unlike Joe Wright’s brilliant and beautiful adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement about doomed love during the Second World War, Testament of Youth does not maintain the same emotional resonance although dealing with similar themes. Vikander holds her own as the passionate and outspoken Vera Brittain.

Her quest to find her brother Edward, leads her to the front lines in France in 1917 where she is forced to take care not only for wounded British soldiers but also for the wounded and dying German soldiers, making her realize that despite the politics, war effects everyone equally, a devastating loss for both the victorious and defeated nations.

Which is precisely why over a hundred years later, Armistice Day is still celebrated on the 11th November as a commemoration of those countless lives sacrificed during World War 1 and a warning about the perils of embarking on future wars which is especially relevant in the conflict strewn geo-political arena of the 21st century.

After World War 1, Vera Brittain became a vocal pacifist and an anti-war campaigner. She dealt with her huge grief by publishing all the letters of her brother and his friends as well as her own memoirs in 1933 of that horrific time during the war, where she witnessed the brutality and infinite loss of life first hand as a nurse.

Testament of Youth is a fascinating look at the naivety of war through the eyes of a generation which were obliterated by its devastating effects. At some point the film, does not manage to maximise the emotional resonance, which films like Atonement and The English Patient did so brilliantly.

Nevertheless Testament of Youth remains a damning anti-war indictment and an accurate historical portrait of a lost generation, right down to the soft focus production design and period costumes.

Audiences should look out for cameo appearances by Hayley Atwell (Brideshead Revisited) as well as Miranda Richardson (The Young Victoria, Damage) as the stern Oxford professor who recognizes Vera Brittain’s potential as a young writer. Recommended viewing for ardent fans of historical cinema.

Source: Vera Brittain

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
May 2022
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • A24 Buys Paul Mescal Tearjerker ‘Aftersun,’ Charlotte Wells’ Hit Movie, Out of Cannes
    A24 has snapped up the Paul Mescal-led tearjerker “Aftersun” out of the Cannes Film Festival. The distributor has picked up North American rights for the movie, which premiered as part of the Cannes’ Critics’ Week section to rave reviews last week. The movie stars Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio. “Aftersun” is produced by Adele Romanski, […]
    msravindran
  • Johnny Depp Loses Bid to Dismiss Amber Heard’s Counterclaim
    A Virginia judge on Tuesday denied Johnny Depp’s motion to dismiss Amber Heard’s counterclaim, ruling that the issue should be decided by the jury. The counterclaim alleges that Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, defamed Heard and damaged her career when he accused her and her friends of perpetrating an “abuse hoax.” Heard’s side rested their case […]
    gmaddaus
  • Sci-Fi Film ‘UFO Sweden’ Lures Buyers at Cannes Film Market (EXCLUSIVE)
    REinvent International Sales has closed major territory sales on “UFO Sweden,” a science fiction movie adventure from Crazy Pictures, a Swedish film collective whose past credits includes the 2018 hit movie “The Unthinkable.” Described as a mix between “X-Files” and “Stranger Things,” “UFO Sweden” is set in a small town and follows a teenage rebel […]
    elskes
  • Jen Psaki, Former White House Press Secretary, to Launch Streaming MSNBC Show in 2023
    One of the news industry’s worst-kept secrets is finally seeing the light of day. Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary who resigned from the role a few weeks ago, is slated to join MSNBC in the fall, where she will host a new streaming program that is expected to launch in the first quarter […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • Adobe’s Kakul Srivastava Named New CEO of Splice (EXCLUSIVE)
    Splice, the online music marketplace for rights-cleared sounds and beats, has hired Adobe’s Kakul Srivastava as its new CEO. Founder and CEO Steve Martocci will transition to executive chairman and chief strategy officer. Srivastava arrives from Adobe, where she oversaw and led the company’s $9 billion Creative Cloud business along with building and scaling platforms […]
    Thania Garcia
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90