AWFJ Movie of the Week, June 1-7: TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

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Opening June 5, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Testament of Youth, featuring a stunning central performance from up-and-coming star Alicia Vikander (Son of a Gun, Ex_Machina) as a headstrong young British woman suddenly having to cope with major changes to her life brought on by the outbreak of World War I. Read on…

Adapted from the 1933 bestselling memoir by Vera Brittain – who Vikander portrays with such spirited vim and vigour – by Juliette Towhidi (TV’s Death Comes to Pemberley) and helmed by TV director James Kent (Marchlands, The Thirteenth Tale), the film gives us an all-too-rare look at how war also affects the lives of women. Vera defies her old-fashioned parents and wins a place at Oxford, only to drop out to become a military nurse and do her part for the war effort; through her eyes, we witness the devastation and destruction of warfare on a personal, intimate and life-changing scale.

The film boasts an impressive cast, including Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington as Vera’s love interest, and Dominic West and Emily Watson as her outmoded parents, but Vikander’s performance is the beating heart of this narrative. Vera is thoroughly modern in her outlook, if hampered by the traditions of the day and the constrictions of conflict, and is as much a heroine of her time as the soldiers she is helping. Both an excellent drama and a feminist call to arms, Testament of Youth is absolutely unmissable.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:

Kristy Puchko: Testament of Youth is gorgeous, moving and an angle on war not often acknowledged, that of women at home, in the field and beyond.

MaryAnn Johanson: My pick is Testament of Youth, a wonderful (and woman-centered) story about the personal impacts of war. Read more>>>

Jennifer Merin: This beautifully crafted and hearbreaking tale about a woman and the impact of war delivers lessons we should have learned long ago.

Film Details:
Title: Testament of Youth
Director: James Kent
Release Date: June 5, 2015
Running Time: 129 minutes
Language: English
Shooting Location(s): various locations in England
Principal Cast: Miranda Richardson, Anna Chancellor, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Nicholas Farrell, Hayley Atwell, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Alexandra Roach, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Joanna Scanlan, Jonathan Bailey, Nicholas Le Prevost
Screenwriter(s): Juliette Towhidi
Production Company: BBC Films, Heyday Films
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Official Website
Trailer

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, MaryAnn Johanson, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Katherine McLaughlin, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Kristy Puchko, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf.

Other Movies Opening the Week of June 1-7, 2015:

June 3
Entourage
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

June 5
Love & Mercy
Testament of Youth
Spy
Insidious Chapter 3
Trophy Kids
Patch Town
We Are Still Here

Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor

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Nikki Baughan

Nikki Baughan is a London-based freelance film critic and features writer. Formerly editor of both Film Review and movieScope magazines, Nikki is currently contributes to various print and online publications, including Screen International, BFI, The List and Film Divider.