TESTAMENT OF YOUTH Movie Review
Do you know what I haven’t seen in a while, a movie that centers around the people of WWI. We see so many WWII movies that are deliberately Oscar bait that it’s a nice change of pace to watch Testament Of Youth, a WWI movie which is deliberately Oscar bait… You see where I’m going with this.
Testament Of Youth is a movie based on the life of English woman, Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander). I would say it’s a bit on the nose but this is seriously her name. It follows her life during the course of WWI, starting off in her late teens right up through her twenties. We follow Brittain as she tries to break into Oxford against the wishes of her parents who find her forward thinking ways ridiculous. Along the way she meets Roland Leighton (Kit Harrington) who she falls hopelessly in love with. I won’t go further into Testament Of Youth’s plot because going into this movie knowing absolutely nothing allowed all the tension to come through.
Testament Of Youth is a visually powerful movie, there are a lot of scenes that will bring you to tears. One in particular comes to mind, which is subtle, simple and deftly acted by Dominic West. The cinematography is accompanied by a beautiful score which adds another layer of authenticity to Testament Of Youth. The shining element though of Testament Of Youth is the acting, almost every actor is on form, from the leads to the supporting cast. The only actor that lets down the side is Harrington who is his usual droopy self. However he does have some great scenes with Vikander who he has some remarkable chemistry with.
Now after the two hours were over I have to say, I enjoyed Testament Of Youth. There are great performances, the backdrops are stunning but there was this nagging feeling I couldn’t shake, then I realized what the feeling was. This felt bloated and at times unnecessarily long which is disappointing since the movie is only two hours long. Then there is the most detrimental element to Testament Of Youth, this shouldn’t be a movie. This would have worked so much better as a BBC mini series. Each jump in time would have been handled better as it got slightly confusing when we were in Vera’s life.
It’s Oscar bait, it drags towards the end and can be a heavy handed with its message at times, but with stunning set pieces and a wonderful cast, Testament Of Youth is a great time at the cinema, especially if you’re looking for something to really engage you.