Thursday, September 17, 2015

Testament of Youth - a Movie Review

The Testament of Youth was released in the UK earlier this spring. I'm not quite sure when it made its way across the pond, but I did not see a trailer for it until several weeks ago. This is another good film that many movie goers will miss because it will not make the marquis of the multi-plexs.

The movie is based on the autobiography of the same name by Vera Britain. The story takes place in England around the time of World War I. It is a coming of age tale of a bright young woman with plans, much to her parents' dismay, to attend Oxford (not something every woman did in those days). She has no room in her life for a man, something she feels would derail her future. However with the entrance in her life of one her brother's friends and the break out of the War she finds that her priorities change. She feels she much join the cause - do her part, so she becomes a nurse.

Vera (Alicia Vikander) is a lovely but driven and serious young lady who finds herself blindsided by feelings for a young man, Roland, played by Kit Harrington. Taron Egerton plays her brother Edward the person she is closest to.  And Colin Morgan  rounds out the group of friends as the Edward's other friend, Victor,  from Oxford. The story follows the lives of these four before and during the war. 

The screen play is well written and although I did not read the book, the story portrayed in the movie is excellent. It never drags, does not stoop to maudlin mush, and carries forth with the same strength the country showed in the War. The vitality, optimism, and innocence of youth are played out as these young people grow up quickly under the harrowing circumstances of war. 

The scenery and cinematography reflect the mood of the time. Although the narrative is not lighthearted, it is rich in its characters and the story is all the more passionate and embracing because it is true. The tale of war from the young person's point of view at this time in their life who lost so much so early, is what great writers try to achieve. It is at its best when coming from someone who as a young person truly experienced that pain and joy and love and loss.

This 129 minutes well worth your time.

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