NIFF 2015 Review: Testament of Youth (2014) ★★★★★

Testtament of Youth poster

Can war bring satisfaction? Can we say we have achieved a satisfactory result when we leave so many wounded and dead because of unnecessary wars we put ourselves into? A young British woman, Vera Brittain recalls coming of age during World War I – a story of young love, uselessness of war, and her sacrifice to change something that was not in her power – to make through the darkness… But how far can a woman go when she’s left alone in her fight against an unchangeable fact – no matter how hard you fight against evil, it will still take its last chance to take everything you love because it knows no other way to exist… Based on one of the most powerful memoirs about war, which leaves rather grieving hearts than the tears of happiness…

Vera Brittain (played extraordinarily by Alicia Vikander, EX MACHINA) is a young woman full of hope, who dreams big to become a writer. But suddenly finds herself in the dreadful World War I that compels her entire world to change as she finds herself in a dark tunnel where she’s desperate to find her way out to the light… But the main question is, how many of her loved ones will make it through along with her? When Testament of Youth begins, we find Vera finding her way through a big crowd. We are yet to find out why she stands there alone with tear stained eyes as we are taken 4 years earlier where she begins recalling her youth…

First, we find her happily swimming with her brother Edward Brittain (Taron Egerton). She enjoys her life surrounded by loved ones, and full of determination that she will never get married. But soon after, a young man named Roland Leighton (Kit Harington, THE GAME OF THRONES), is able to change her mind. But when Vera is about to go to Oxford and start building her personal life, the war begins, which divides her from her brother and fiancé. In order to avoid more loss, Vera leaves her studies and goes to France, only to find out she can`t stop the inevitable. Change will happen whether she embraces it or not.

Testament of Youth, directed by James Kent is an extraordinary film based on Vera Brittain`s memoir. He crafted every scene well, there’s excellent photography, and a special performance that deserves an extra line in this review. Alicia Vikander, who recently was seen in EX MACHINA, shines bright in Kent`s film as Vera Brittain. Describing her performance will mean writing another four hundred words, and maybe still not be enough to define the acting ability she displayed portraying Vera Brittain. Every single scene she delivers is emotionally packed, like in the best Hollywood action packed films. Vikander demonstrates her incredible acting acumen with her multiple facial expressions. Kent seems to be aware of her talents as he holds the camera a bit longer when Vikander appears on the screen while we see despair, emotions, and determination through her facial expressions.

It would be unfair to emphasise Vikander as the only star in this film, which is absolutely not true. Kit Harington and Taron Egerton share great chemistry with Vikander, almost the same way we’ve seen in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD with Carey Mulligan-Matthias Schoenaerts-Michael Sheen. It’s such a delight and endless joy seeing how the trio deliver their part in such a natural, flawless and perfect way. James Kent’s film is one of this year’s best films, which certainly must be seen by anyone who loves watching period drama and strong performances.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: