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Testament of Youth (2014)

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A British woman recalls coming of age during World War I - a story of young love, the futility of war, and how to make sense of the darkest times.

Director:

James Kent

Writers:

Vera Brittain (autobiography), Juliette Towhidi (screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
3,682 ( 65)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alicia Vikander ... Vera Brittain
Taron Egerton ... Edward Brittain
Colin Morgan ... Victor Richardson
Dominic West ... Mr. Brittain
Emily Watson ... Mrs. Brittain
Kit Harington ... Roland Leighton
Joanna Scanlan ... Aunt Belle
Miranda Richardson ... Miss Lorimer
Rachel Redford ... Exam Candidate
Nicholas Farrell ... Headmaster
Daisy Waterstone ... Clare Leighton
Nicholas Le Prevost ... Mr. Leighton
Anna Chancellor ... Mrs. Leighton
Teresa Churcher ... Passenger
Xavier Atkins ... Boy on Bicycle
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Storyline

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 Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Divided by war. United by love.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including bloody and disturbing war related images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Denmark

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

16 January 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Testamento de juventud See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$53,000, 7 June 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,822,030, 11 October 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Vera Britain was the mother of British politician Shirley Williams, who was a Labour MP and cabinet minister, who later left to become a founder of the Social Democratic Party, which merged with the Liberal Party. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Vera Brittain: [speaking to gathered crowd] Can I find the courage to accept there might be another way? Perhaps their deaths have meaning only if we stand together now and say, "No!" No to killing. No to war. No to the endless cycle of revenge. I say no more of it. No
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Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, World War I guns can be heard in the background. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of Testament of Youth (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

In dulci jubilo
Arranged by Gerhard Narholz
Imagem Production Music
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User Reviews

 
Unseen perspective, and solid-account of the despair that war causes.
23 October 2014 | by CharlieGreenCGSee all my reviews

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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