Hungry Like A Woolf (Movie Thoughts: Vita & Virginia)

vvI don’t really know too much about Virginia Woolf so I was very interested in “Vita & Virginia,’ Chanya Button’s film about the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Woolf. (The former is the inspiration for Woolf’s novel ‘Orlando.’) And this film started promisingly as I love the look and feel of the film, as it captured 1920s England perfectly, and I read they even filmed some scenes at Sackville-Wests’s estate home. But the characters here are so thinly drawn and the center of the story, which is the tempestuous love affair between the two women – never takes flight. You don’t see what attracted them together, and their dialogue seemed stilted. It doesn’t help that the two actors (Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki) have nil chemistry with each other. Button adapted this from Eileen Atkin’s stage play and uses some unconventional touches – the characters read love letters to the camera which detaches the audience. Plus, what is up with the ‘modern’ flourishes, like CGI effects that feel out of place and the techno scoring? It’s a sad misfire for something that might have been more.

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