Films Testament of Youth

Published on January 16th, 2015 | by Naomi Goodman

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Film Review: Testament of Youth

‘Beautifully balanced, brilliantly cast’

(Testament of Youth – Out in UK cinemas nationwide now)

Testament of Youth is far considered to be one of the greatest war memoirs ever written. So producing a film that reflected the experiences of Vera Brittain was never going to be an easy task; and I was even more dubious when I read that Alicia Vikander, the actress playing the British protagonist, was in fact from New Zealand.

Set in the shadows of World War I, Vera Brittain is a young lady who stands for being unique, not judged. Young and spirited, she swears off men, marriage and children and sets a primary ambition to study at Oxford University and become a writer.

But her ambition becomes mocked by reality. She falls in love. World War I arrives. And her brother, best friend and betrothed choose to fight on the front line. She has every opportunity to keep her head buried in her studies; or use her gender or class as an excuse, but instead she chooses to walk away from Oxford, and towards war.

What follows next is a beautiful, true story about one young woman’s journey to stand up and help.

A brilliant lead performance by Vikander, with sensitive supporting performances from Dominic West, Anna Chancellor and Mirander Richardson – and good work from Game of Thrones eye candy Kit Harington – I left the preview screening organised exclusively by TimeOut London (www.timeout.com) for its members teary eyed, humbled and with one main thought; despite how life changes and the challenges it chooses to throw at you, you can still stay true to your soul.

In UK cinemas nationwide from Friday 16 January 2015.

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