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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 »
When the Sister, a Scottish woman in her sixties, instructs Vera and another nurse to prepare two hundred beds by lunchtime, she says to them, "Move it, move it!" This would be anachronistic even in an American hospital at the time, let alone in Britain. It's only one step short of "Haul ass!" See more »
Edward was always a good listener, since his own form of self-expression then consisted in making unearthly and to me quite meaningless sounds on his small violin. I remember him, at the age of seven, as a rather solemn, brown-eyed little boy, with beautiful arched eyebrows which lately, to my infinite satisfaction, have begun to reproduce themselves, a pair of delicate question-marks, above the dark eyes of my five-year-old son...
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During the opening credits, World War I guns can be heard in the background. See more »
Elegantly filmed piece portraying the futility of war
23 January 2015 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Testament of Youth. Based on the book by Vera Brittain which is a best selling account of her experiences during the First World War, this film follows the life of Vera herself during those harrowing times. Starting out gently, we follow Vera, her brother and his friends from their comfortable life in the country to the eve of the war in 1914 and beyond. I say gently because this film eases you into what was one of the horrors of recent history, a time which shattered people and ruined lives forever. After fighting so hard to get to Oxford, Vera then gives it all up to become a nurse, a journey which ultimately takes her to France and gives her first hand experience of the massacre that war dishes out. There is a romantic thread running through the film but her strongest bond is with her brother and her world is torn apart when he signs up to fight. Vera was played beautifully by Alicia Vikander, a Swedish actress who I am not familiar with, but she had look of Emily Blunt in her facial expressions and mannerisms, and unfortunately did not seem to age at all during the film, not even in grief. However that is my only criticism in an elegantly shot film even when covering the abomination that is war. Another cinematic experience to make you think.
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