Wit (2001)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  24 March 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 7,118 users  
Reviews: 117 user | 19 critic

A renowned professor is forced to reassess her life when she is diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.



(play), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 11 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Harvey Kelekian
Evelyn 'E.M.' Ashford
Susie Monahan
Dr. Jason Posner
Harold Pinter ...
Mr. Bearing (Vivian's Father)
Rebecca Laurie ...
Su Lin Looi ...
Nurse (as Su-Lin Looi)
Technician 1
Miquel Brown ...
Technician 2
Hari Dhillon ...
Fellow 1 (as Harry Dillon)
Fellow 2
Alex Gregor ...
Fellow 3
Lachele Carl ...
Fellow 4
Student 1


Based on the Margaret Edson play, Vivian Bearing is a literal, hardnosed English professor who has been diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. During the story, she reflects on her reactions to the cycle the cancer takes, the treatments, and significant events in her life. The people that watch over her are Jason Posner, who only finds faith in being a doctor; Susie Monahan, a nurse with a human side that is the only one in the hospital that cares for Vivian's condition; and Dr. Kelekian, the head doctor who just wants results no matter what they are. Written by Pat McCurry <laraspal00@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It appears to be a matter of life and death.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 March 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

W;t  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is often shown at medical colleges as an example of how doctors and researchers should not behave. See more »


The size of Vivian's and Susie's popsicles. See more »


Vivian Bearing: I trust this will have a soporific effect.
Susie Monahan: I don't know about that, but it sure makes you sleepy.
Vivian Bearing: [laughing] Soporific means 'makes you sleepy'.
See more »


Spoofed in Saved! (2004) See more »


Spiegel im Spiegel
Written by Arvo Pärt
Produced by Manfred Eicher
Courtesy of ECM Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Without a Flaw
6 December 2004 | by (Northern California) – See all my reviews

So often one leaves the theater or presses re-wind with a thought taking the form of, "That was a really good film, but..." At the end of "Wit," I could not find a qualifier to complete that thought, and I still cannot. This film is a piece of perfection, tightly fitted but not contrived; dramatic without overstatement; and deeply moving without sentimentality.

It also comprises a tour-de-force performance by Emma Thompson, an actor whose performances are almost always extraordinary -- so the fact that this one stands out says a lot.

The dialogue (and monologue) is amusing, minimalistic but never too little, and is always sufficient to the scene. There is plenty of irony, wry humor, and understated insight; and yet the film, stark as it is, is abundantly human and, in places, even sweet.

At the height of the grinding sorrow that Thompson so skillfully brings us into, a startling scene between her old academic mentor is a loving act of redemption, shared by them both.

As an additional note, the surprising appearance of Christopher Lloyd in this film, as the research oncologist, provides a perfect foil for Vivian's role as a patient and as an academician. Lloyd's performance is convincing, and yet it contains just enough of eccentricity and kindness to make his character's disinterested role entirely sympathetic.

A wonderful film. Not -- be warned -- an easy film to watch, but decidedly worth it.

63 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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