★★★★★ | Testament of Youth

This is one of those titles you may know, you’ve seen it somewhere or have heard of the author, Vera Brittain… it rings bells.

But you may be like me, know of it but not know it? I’d heard of it, I’d seen the cover, I knew the author (not personally) but it didn’t appeal enough to buy, beg or borrow a copy to read.

 

I’m glad I didn’t now – I’m glad I waited for this lush, rich adaptation which only makes me want to whizz out and buy a copy to read it and savour every detail.It’s an epic tale, set against the fight for women’s rights, struggles in Edwardian England that then faces the First World War, and all that this entails for the youth of that time – the lost generation.I can only imagine what it was like, but this film helps show it – the life of privilege for upper middle classes, women wanting equality and suffering for it, the horror of going to war and the horror of waiting at home for news of loved ones.It only briefly touches on it in one scene, but it also mentions the love that dare not speak its name, as Vera’s injured brother clutches to a letter from a fellow officer.This is an amazing adaption; the script is rich with Brittain’s words, the scenery gritty and pretty in equal measures and the acting superb.

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Kit Harrington and Alicia Vikander are perfect as the slightly awkward lovers, separated by war and a society that still insists on chaperones for young unmarried couples.

They are more than ably supported by Taron Egerton as Vera’s brother, Miranda Richardson as a stand offish Oxford tutor, Dominic West as Vera’s father, the list goes on…
For all its epic proportions and massive story – this is still a very personal film and I defy you not to be touched by it.