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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
At 1:46 Vera puts some flowers in a vase, Sarah Bernhardt peonies and Pierre de Ronsard roses. While Sarah Bernhardt peony was created in 1895, Eden rose, also called "Pierre de Ronsard" was created in 1985. See more »
Great visuals and Alicia Vikander really lift this adaptation of Vera Brittain's powerful memoir
Vikander's assured performance really saves this film from being just another solemn costume drama, and it's largely thanks to her that the passion that inspired Vera Brittain's antiwar classic still shows through despite a sometimes rushed and perfunctory screenplay. Kit Harington ("Game of Thrones") is suitably intense as Vera's fiancé, Roland Leighton (didn't recognize John Snow at first in his new guise as beardless nature poet).
The camera may seem to dwell too much on idyllic country scenes and beautiful vistas at the expense of plot and character, though that does help to heighten the contrast between Vera's privileged but restricted prewar life and the new life of purpose and endless horror that awaits her at a field hospital in France. The camera's used most effectively when the two worlds collide-to illustrate Roland's poem addressed to the corpse of a German soldier found lying in a patch of wildflowers, most of all in the panorama of a boundless field of dead and dying men surrounding the hospital after a "big push" (which echoes the famous crane shot after the Battle of Atlanta in "Gone with the Wind"). I'll let the nitpickers figure out if the Leightons' house on the South Coast really did have a magnificent view of what looks like the White Cliffs of Dover, but the stormy shoreline makes the perfect backdrop for a scene in which Roland returns angry and shellshocked from the front
The basic storyline-Vera's service in France and her romance with Roland Leighton-is skillfully dramatized and very moving; her struggle with the conventions of Georgian family life is somewhat less involving, one exception being an ironic episode in which she's summoned back from the front to deal with a family "crisis," only to find that her mother's gotten sick and has fallen behind with the housework
The much-praised '79 series with Cheryl Campbell only seems to be available on VHS and Region 2 DVD; I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this gorgeous and affecting new version as an alternative.
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