Movie Review: Testament of Youth (2014)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harrington and Taron Egerton

Directed by: James Kent

A young upper class British woman by the name of Vera Brittain recalls her experience through the First World War. A story of love, loss and confusion as Vera has to deal with the cold harsh realities of the destructive nature of war.

Since I watched Jason Bourne earlier in the month I’ve been wanting to check out more of Alicia Vikander’s work. I loved her performances in both Ex Machina and The Danish Girl and she was good to watch in Jason Bourne and The Man From U.N.C.L.E so I was looking at what else she had starred in and came across Testament of Youth which thankfully was on Netflix so it felt like the ideal time to check out this movie. I’m usually a big fan of movies based at wartime so I was expecting big things from this movie considering it’s rather impressive cast.

Testament of Youth not only stars Alicia Vikander but also features a wonderful array of British actors such as Kit Harrington, Taron Egerton, Dominic West and Emily Watson. The cast and the quality of the acting all round was the highlight of the movie as all the names I mentioned above plus other smaller characters all performed sensationally well. Kit Harrington as Roland Leighton plays Vera Brittain’s (Alicia Vikander) fiancé and they share some great chemistry on screen as the relationship grows naturally and feels genuine. Vikander herself was brilliant in her role as an intellectually advanced young woman living in a world that seems set to try and hold her back. Only problem with her character was that I didn’t feel emotionally connected to her or her story in any kind of way, despite what seemed to be a never ending cycle of pain and heartbreak. I’m not sure whether it was Vikander herself who was unable to make that emotional connection with me or whether it was the writing that seemed too generic for me to care about the characters I was meant to care about.

Also I was sort of hoping to see a little action from the front line and the trenches but there was nothing for me to watch except the story of Vera Brittain. I think because Testament of Youth was all story and no action I found it quite hard to fully invest myself into the story as at times it went through some quite dull stages which were awfully slow. I think the screen writers didn’t do a good enough job at making the story engaging enough.

Overall, a movie that on paper had so much promise with its great cast, all of whom delivered but the story was pretty dull at times and failed to get me to fully invest.


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