Last Wednesday my husband and I went to see “Testament of Youth”.
For the most part I am not a fan of summer blockbusters so a British drama about World War I seemed like a good choice for us. Also, I blog about “Game of Thrones” every week and I wanted to support Kit Harrington in his non “Game of Thrones” career (check out my blog on the season five finale of that show: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/06/15/game-of-thrones-season-5-episode-10-season-finale-and-the-end-of-the-line-for-the-source-matrial/).
The film is about a young woman named Vera (Alicia Vikander) who on the eve of World War I falls in love with her brother’s friend (Harrington) and gets accepted to Oxford. After the war breaks out she must work to reconcile how the War has changed her life and the lives of those around her. Like so many women she is left behind as her brother and her boyfriend are shipped off to war. As the war wages on and she faces the inevitable losses that war causes she decides she must do something to help out so she becomes a nurse.
At one point she works in France not far away from the war front and comes face to face with the horrors of world war one.
I liked some of the complex issues the film touches on. For example at the end of the movie there is a debate about how much Germany should be punished for the war. Vera argues that the German people suffered every bit as much as the British soldiers did. This a nuanced view of war that is all too often missing from war films (especially trash like “American Sniper”, check out my blog entry on that movie: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/american-sniper/)
The greatest strength of the film is the acting. Vakander is wonderful in the lead role. It was great to see Kit Harrington play a character very different than Jon Snow.
Instead of his usual brooding with minimal facial expressions his performance is one of a shy man who smiles a lot. It was a good career movie.
The weakness of the film is that it’s a little slow. It’s really well made but at the end of the day it doesn’t move you as much as it should. Still I’m rather sit through a well-acted but slow British war drama any day rather than trash like “San Andres”.
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