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Testament of Youth - Film Review

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Published April 3rd 2015
A heart wrenching true story of one woman's memories
Real life stories both in books and on screen appeal to me, and this film ticked all the boxes. This is a film about words, and a passion to write, set in a time where sending letters was a treasured pastime. This film will certainly resonate with writers or anyone involved with the creative arts. Most biographies are written by an outside author, but this film is based on a book written by a real life author. The screenplay and adaptation have done it justice, as the passion and the suffering, all good writers seem to go through in life are evident in this film.

testament of youth
Testament of Youth- a heart wrenching scene from the movie.

Watching a biopic movie is more than simply being entertained. Rather for this viewer it an acknowledgement of that person's life. The words were actually spoken, and their letters were written and read. The locations and experiences reveal both treasured and harrowing memories. This film also gives a glimpse into a period of history that features prominently at this time, as it is 100 years since the Great War. But I wouldn't call it a war movie. Through the movie you need to remember the opening scene when Vera seeks refuge from the frenzy of Victory Day in the peaceful sanctuary of a church. There in the stillness she reflects on the last five years or so. She did not fight in the trenches. There are no bloody battle scenes as these are not her memories. The war years are rather the period the story was set in. It was for me, more a narrative of life and coming of age movie.

Vera Brittain was no ordinary young woman in her time, in that she wasn't seeking a husband like other girls. All she wanted to do was to study and learn to be a writer, but then life happened. Halycon English summers and treasured times suddenly were over. The war changed everyone, and no one escaped its effect. The war affected her in many ways, but at the end of it all it gave her direction for the future, and Vera Brittain went on to become a best selling author in the 1920s and 1930s. She became a famous pacifist speaking out against war.

testament of youth
official movie poster

A Testament of Youth spans around five years of her memoirs of her time as a young woman. This film gives a woman's perspective on war, and demonstrates what it is to have a passion that drives you even though life brings you struggles. I particularly like the way the film portrayed the way a writer thinks, and the way they look at small insignificant things. The cinematography always showing fleeting moments of what is going on in Vera's mind. They are always writing in their mind, even when they don't have a pen in hand. There were little things in this film I could relate to as a writer. Much detail was apparent in the period costuming and the inner private world of Vera's room, right down to the beautiful things such as antique china and vintage wallpapers. I highly recommend this adults only film which is due for release in April 2015.

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