In Love And War (Movie Thoughts: Testament Of Youth)

Testament-of-youthWasn’t I just raving about Alicia Vikander in “Ex-Machina”? Well, here she is again, giving a fine performance in “Testament Of Youth.”  She is the reason to watch this movie – it is one of those star-making performances and should cement her status as the new go-to girl for those young British girl roles usually played by Kiera Knightley. The film, directed by James Kent, is one of those regal, elegant films one associates with something like Masterpiece Theater. (I have to check – are they produced by the same people?) It’s a movie about war but it doesn’t show explicit war scenes – we experience it through the eyes of Vera Brittain, who leaves her studies in Oxford to volunteer as a nurse, and then sees her fiancee, her brother, and most of their friends perish from the war. Though we see some familiar set up of scenes (train station farewell between lovers, overhead shot of injured bodies at war sites) we feel like they aren’t cliched. There is one harrowing scene where Vera looks for her brother amongst those injured, and I couldn’t look at the screen from the pain. So did I love this movie? I shoudl say yes, but I have to admit there were lulls in it that kind of bored me. But I like it enough to recommend – this is a story that should be heard by everyone, if only to hammer the thought that war is stupid.

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