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A long, long time ago, back in the spring of 1914, they were so happy together. There was Vera Brittain, an upper class girl with ideas of her own; and her bright brother Edward; and his group of friends among whom Roland Leighton, wonderful, handsome, sensitive Roland Vera had fallen for... Always having great times together talking, laughing, exchanging ideas, walking, eating, swimming together; all of them envisioning the glittering future they deserved: Vera, despite her father's opposition, would study at Oxford, marry Roland and be a famous writer; Roland, as for him, would be acclaimed as a great poet while Edward and his friends would each become a prominent figure in his respective field... But then came that fateful day on 4 August 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany. All those beautiful dreams were to be shattered one after the other. All except one: Vera wound up becoming a writer... A writer but a pacifist as well.Written by
Vera Brittain also worked as a nurse in Malta and the ship she was travelling on was almost sunk by a torpedo; the film omits this part of the book (presumably for time and budget constraints) See more »
As Roland and Vera meet in late 1914 before he leaves for France, Aunt Belle notices that Roland is sick and she talks about how influenza is ripping through the troops and it's in all the newspapers "Spanish Influenza they call it." The earliest known case of what would only later be called the Spanish flu was in March of 1918--and reports of the plague were zealously suppressed in the press of the belligerent nations for fear that it damaged morale. The only reason the disease, which actually was first documented in Kansas, was named "Spanish Flu", was because Spain was neutral in the war and the Spanish papers were free to report cases, giving the wrong impression elsewhere that Spain was hit first and harder by the disease. See more »
Down the long white road we walked together. Down between the grey hills and the heather. You seemed all brown and soft, just like linnet. Your errant hair had shadowed sunbeams in it. And there shone all April in your eyes.
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During the opening credits, World War I guns can be heard in the background. See more »
Unseen perspective, and solid-account of the despair that war causes.
Considered one of the greatest war memoirs ever written, the Testament of Youth is a true-life account of Vera Brittian's life from 1914 - 1918, and a chronicle of how the First World War affected not only her, but the nation's lives.
One of the things that determines Testament of Youth different to other bloody, explosive and bullet-ridden war tales is that it is focused on the domestic view of the ones who not only joined the war on the front-line, but also those at home and the consequent effects on loved ones, offering an unseen perspective, and solid-account of the despair that war causes.
Beginning in pre-war 1914, we are introduced to Vera Brittain, a determined and wilful individual with aspirations of not becoming just a traditional young-married women, but one who attends Oxford University and chooses her own life-choices.
Along with her brother Edward (Taron Egerton) and his two friends Victor (Colin Morgan) and Geoffrey (Jonathan Bailey), they all enjoy their youth in the rural village with their parents (Dominic West and Emily Fox). On-the-road to Oxford, she is introduced to her brothers close friend Roland (Kit Harington), and a relationship soon breaks out - but untimely, as does the war.
Quite proud to do so out of loyalty to Queen and country, her brother Edward, and friends Victor and Geoffrey with Roland all sign up to the forces to assist. (Against parental wishes to do so). Now at Oxford, yet unable to focus as this devastation is happening all around her, she joins the forces too, as a nurse - and the film develops from there.
Given a world-premiere at the 58th BFI London Film Festival, the film is squeezed out in time for the Remembrance holidays and by-all accounts award season. Based on our criticism alone, it is going to be praised and remembered at both.
Crafted by former TV-movie director, James Kent, along with the (brilliant) cast, Testament of Youth is a thoroughly engaging history drama in Downton Abbey-esqe war times and a unique approach to the war like never before.
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