121 user 19 critic

Wit (2001)

PG-13 | | Drama | TV Movie 24 March 2001
0:31 | Trailer
A renowned professor is forced to reassess her life when she is diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.


Mike Nichols


Margaret Edson (play), Emma Thompson (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Emma Thompson ... Vivian Bearing
Christopher Lloyd ... Dr. Harvey Kelekian
Eileen Atkins ... Evelyn 'E.M.' Ashford
Audra McDonald ... Susie Monahan
Jonathan M. Woodward ... Dr. Jason Posner
Harold Pinter ... Mr. Bearing (Vivian's Father)
Rebecca Laurie Rebecca Laurie ... Vivian aged 5
Su Lin Looi Su Lin Looi ... Nurse (as Su-Lin Looi)
Raffaello Degruttola ... Technician 1
Miquel Brown Miquel Brown ... Technician 2
Hari Dhillon ... Fellow 1 (as Harry Dillon)
Benedict Wong ... Fellow 2
Alex Gregor Alex Gregor ... Fellow 3
Lachele Carl ... Fellow 4
David Menkin ... Student 1


Based on the Margaret Edson play, Vivian Bearing (Dame Emma Thompson) 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 Dr. Jason Posner (Jonathan M. Woodward), who only finds faith in being a doctor; Susie Monahan (Audrey McDonald), a nurse with a human side that is the only one in the hospital that cares for Vivian's condition; and Dr. Harvey Kelekian (Christopher Lloyd), 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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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


During her exam with the young internist, her arms alternate repeatedly from being completely under the sheet, to being folded together on top of the sheet. See more »


E.M. Ashford: Do you think that the punctuation of the last line of this sonnet is merely an insignificant detail? The sonnet begins with a valiant struggle with Death calling on all the forces of intellect and drama to vanquish the enemy. But it is ultimately about overcoming the seemingly insuperable barriers separating life death and eternal life. In the edition you choose, this profoundly simple meaning is sacrificed to hysterical punctuation.
E.M. Ashford: And Death, Capital D, shall be no more, semi-colon. Death, ...
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: The Best Films of 2001 (2001) See more »


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

User Reviews

The Need to Confront our Death
21 October 2009 | by cozycats5See all my reviews

The movie paints a vivid picture of a hospital where confronting a patient's death is second to experiments.

Vivian is an 'experiment' dying alone. I can still recall the relief on the face of my mother when I brought up her imminent death. She was afraid of making ME fearful. I was privileged to share my mother's dying. She shared moments of regret, painful happenings and joyful events. It was one of the best things I have done as a human being.

Vivian is clearly relieved to 'know the score' when Susie tells her that medicine will not save her. Susie gives the dying Vivian, medicine of compassion. She touches her and thereby acknowledges her as a human being.

Enter the professor who leads Vivian to the moment of death. There is no need for intellectual poetry or sparring. Instead, the professor lies on the death bed holding and supporting her friend. Tears fall from Vivian's eyes, the professor merely confirms the difficulty. The children's story is read and the professor offers her opinion - It is an allegory of a soul. We do not know if Vivian supports this statement. We only know that she dies with the knowledge that she is loved.

"Out of the mouth of babes," is a scriptural quote that confirms the wit of simplicity. I, personally, needed the bunny story. However, many children's stories have incisive clues to live's mysteries.

I am puzzled about the negative comments. Have any of these writers witnessed dying? Why do so many people negate the virtues of kindness, sympathy, touch, love, etc with weakness or by a wave of his/her hand dismiss it as 'boring.' This was not a boring movie. If you saw it this way, you missed the point. Come back, say 10-20 years from now and review it again.

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Release Date:

24 March 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

W;t See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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