When a grandmother's secret past collides with her granddaughter's secret future and her daughter's angry present, can the love of three generations be enough to accept decades of deceit. With a simple roll of film it begins.
A dramatization of the life of LGBTQ+ trailblazer, voracious learner and cryptic diarist Anne Lister, who returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1832, determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home Shibden Hall.
Vita and Virginia is a love story of the affair and the friendship between writer Virginia Woolf "Elizabeth Debicki", and aristocrat Vita Sackville West "Gemma Arterton". In 1922, when Vita receives an invitation their paths crossed in Bloomsbury with Virginia. Their romance overcomes all social boundaries, Virginia's mental health struggles Vita's recklessness and neither will ever be the same without the other.Written by
While the production can't be faltered, and even Virginia Woolf is impersonated quite well, there is a dramatic hole to this which is common with biographical films.
The events and the nature of the people should be more involving, more genuinely dramatic, and yet it is like the reflective scenes from a Chekhov play; somber and infected with a sense of its own importance. It doesn't make the time vivid, so much as refract the events through a literary effort. The result is tedious which is not helped by the intellectual mannerisms.
A good example here is the dullness of the Woolf circle as portrayed whereas in real life they were lively, highly sexual and amusing, amusing to the point of exhaustion. In this film they are dour; sure, we are told they are all licentious and amoral, but what we see on screen is not that.
Woolf was wickedly funny and witty. Sackville-West was verbally dexterous too. It's absent here. They are earnest and plain, and Woolf would not have tolerated that.
The outcome of this love affair is the book, 'Orlando', which if someone hasn't read it, seems a curious object. This, in a way, says much about the film, in that it is a paean to a much adored book.
Novelists, and the business of writing, are not always a success in films. Painters and musicians do better because they are more social arts, but the thrill of writing and words are, paradoxically, not easy to transmit.
The book which emerged from the affair has some prestige, though, for its ardent fans, it's best to avoid Nabokov's assessment of it: he described Orlando as pretentious, bourgeois, nonsense; a view in part, which has tended to loom over Woolf's entire body of work. Nabokov's insight may well apply to this film too. Well, Woolf was very sharp at criticism too.
9 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this