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
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 »
It's not an overly similar movie, but as I've recently watched Atonement, Testament of Youth gave me that same sort of touchingly effective drama with a backdrop of a world war. Obviously, the two are very differently told films. But they proved to each impress in a similar way. For Testament of Youth, this was Alicia Vikander and Kit Harrington's coming out party, at least in the film world. The latter is famous for his turn in that one certain HBO show while Vikander hadn't really done anything of notoriety before this, and she is absolutely the best part about this film. Whether it be as the tomb raiding Lara Croft, the grieving Isabel Graysmark, or the curious Ava, she is brilliant in anything she does. In fact, she's quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses to watch, merely for the sheer charisma she brings with every role. And as much as I want to commend Harrington, Taron Egerton, Dominic West (who ironically also plays her father in Tomb Raider), Colin Morgan, Hayley Atwell, and Emily Watson, no one comes close to Vikander's performance here. If this film didn't get lost in her year of Danish Girl & Ex Machina, perhaps she could have been an awards contender for this film. In fact, this may be my favorite performance of hers. Can I be anymore genuine about her utterly genuine turn?
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