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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • George and Martha are a middle aged married couple, whose charged relationship is defined by vitriolic verbal battles, which underlies what seems like an emotional dependence upon each other. This verbal abuse is fueled by an excessive consumption of alcohol. George being an associate History professor in a New Carthage university where Martha's father is the President adds an extra dimension to their relationship. Late one Saturday evening after a faculty mixer, Martha invites Nick and Honey, an ambitious young Biology professor new to the university and his mousy wife, over for a nightcap. As the evening progresses, Nick and Honey, plied with more alcohol, get caught up in George and Martha's games of needing to hurt each other and everyone around them. The ultimate abuse comes in the form of talk of George and Martha's unseen sixteen year old son, whose birthday is the following day.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Psychological realism and foul language: George and Martha are as far from the bourgeois 1950s perfect married couple as you can get, alternatively badgering, berating, abusing and loving each other, both alone and accompanied by the naive young married couple that have come over for a nightcap. The fun and games in which George and Martha involve Nick and Honey are a lacerating look at the older couple's existence, where the emotional brutalizing fill an unspeakable void at their center, and a troubling preview of what the younger couple's life could become. Combines the banal, the vulgar and the poetic.

    - Written by Russ W. <russwlkr@ix.netcom.com>
  • One literate and profane night in the pathological marriage of two tortured souls, a middle-aged New England professor and his carping wife. Turning the underbelly of bourgeois academia into a microcosm of human relationships in all their arduous complexities, it's a harrowing descent into the private lives and painful secrets of two couples thrown together for an evening. George is an associate professor of history who has turned to alcohol to deal with his vituperative, vicious wife Martha, whose appetite for administering abuse knows no bounds. Invited to the couple's home for late-night drinks are new professor Nick, and his naive wife Honey, where over the course of the evening, the polished veneer of the hosts tarnishes grotesquely. The witty repartee of consummate sophisticate Martha degenerates into increasingly violent verbal abuse of both her husband and guests, while George's stoic facade crumbles both physically and emotionally. The horrified Nick and Honey initially come off as happier foils to the misery of the older married couple, but the guests are soon mirroring George and Martha in their mutual antagonism, giving voice to buried resentments and alcohol-fueled revelations of repressed injuries.

    - Written by filmfactsman
  • A bitter, aging couple, with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.

    - Written by zachtrokanski

Synopsis

Set on the campus of a small New England college, the film focuses on the volatile relationship of a middle-aged couple: associate history professor George (Richard Burton) and his hard-drinking wife Martha (Elizabeth Taylor)...

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