Testament of Youth

ToY lads

Testament of Youth – Victor Richardson

This is not the role that will bring great attention to Colin’s talent in the US. The camera does not linger on him, much as we wish it would. This film is Alicia Vikander’s. The camera is all hers … and, after all, it is Vera’s story.

This the story of Vera Brittain’s journey to become a Pacifist. From everyone’s giddy, romantic approach to ‘going to war to defeat the Hun’, to the heartbreak and inhumanity of the reality. Relationships are not strongly developed, yet to be fair, there are only two hours to cover a very large part of her life.

The beautiful countryside of their youth is contrasted with the damaged aftermath of war. While Roland’s poetry is used to enhance the serenity that once was, the blood and pain of war ravaged soldiers speak of anything else. It is a film meant for the big screen. The dvd gives us the story, though the scenes ask for a bigger scale.

The camera cuts away to Vera’s reactions to what is happening around her. None of the men are focused on for any length of time. The relationship with her brother Edward is the most developed, which seems very reasonable. The clips of Colin that you have already seen on tumblr encompass almost all of his screen time, with minor exceptions. Even though we have already seen these images we still return for cherished glimpses of his performance.

There was an opportunity, I felt, in the hospital with Vera, where the camera could have lingered on Victor’s poignant sadness and attempted bravado … but again, it was the director’s choice to keep this restrained.

It is a film I definitely want to see on the Big Screen. The dvd will take its place among my collection of Colin’s work, which whether great or small, lead or lesser role, are treasured.

And, what of our hopes to see an increase in this continent’s awareness of Colin’s talent? That hope will be met with “Humans”, which, like Merlin, will provide the opportunities to reveal his exceptional skill to a wider audience.

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12 comments on “Testament of Youth

  1. Twosocks says:

    I kind of wondered if we had already seen the bulk of Colin’s performance. Getting ready to go off to swim and hoping for a package in the mailbox when I return. DD says they don’t usually announce show times at theaters until Wednesdays so still hoping for someplace to see it on the big screen.

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  2. Jen, I appreciate your ‘like’ on this page. Was a little worried you might find it somewhat ‘spoilery’. 🙂

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  3. Twosocks says:

    Back home and, sadly, nothing but junk mail today. I did do a bit of thinking about this as I was slashing around in the water (those ladies in Parked had a bit of a wimpy instructor–and they looked far too coordinated).

    Anyway, I feel like one of the qualities we all admire about Colin is his commitment to a role. And it doesn’t seem to matter how big or small the part is. His visit to the blind veteren’s center was mentioned by several people. Plus I remember something about his visit to Victor’s grave. Also his comments about notes he wrote into his script. I realize my vision may be a little skewed because I don’t follow sites for any of the other actors, but wouldn’t there have been at least some comment somewhere about their going those extra miles to prepare for a role?

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    • Those comments have been made, Joan … several times. Sorry you missed them.

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    • Joan, my apologies … I read your comment in a rush and didn’t pay close attention. First glance thought you were talking about Colin. Now I realize you were questioning if other actors in the film also went the extra mile. … I believe Kit Harrington studied the war poets. All of them read the letters and felt they were most valuable. I couldn’t speak to efforts made by Taron or Alicia.

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      • Twosocks says:

        Quite okay. Wasn’t sure I had made myself clear–maybe even to myself. Sometimes getting thoughts down as you really think them–not so easy. I am sure the other actors did a lot to prepare for their roles. Colin just seems to go further. Like he is really interested in knowing more. Kind of what prompted me to make the comment in the other thread about just sitting and listening to him talk. I think it would be not just about his performances but all kinds of wonderful stuff.

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  4. Plot and storyline reveals, pretty much. Performance, if it doesn’t specify something a character does that integral to the plot, doesn’t bother me. 🙂

    For example, in another world (ie: my world prior to January), and never having read the book, I probably would have never known that Victor was blinded. That would have been a major storyline reveal to me. Or that the three major male characters die.

    To use a Merlin example, most anything I read/see/watch now would have been major spoilers if I had never watched the series.

    Another example. I did not know in iZombie that Bradley’s character was actually a zombie. That was a surprise to me when it was revealed in the actual episode. I’m glad I hadn’t read it somewhere before that, or it would have spoiled that surprise. 🙂

    Suntse…you don’t have to avoid anything. I would never, ever presume to tell you what you can’t write, as you would not do to me. Write away! If I choose to read it, then that’s on me…not you. 🙂

    And ya know…it’s not like I’m going to fall over dead cuz I read a spoiler. 😛

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    • Well, I hope not! Because we need you here. 🙂
      My descriptions most often refer to performance, the sorrow in the eyes, etc.
      I understand your concerns.

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      • Your descriptions are very poetic and beautiful to read. I prefer to read what you’ve written, rather than avoid it just because I might encounter something I don’t want to know. So, please continue what you’re doing, as you do it very well. 🙂

        That’s why I’m always here. 🙂

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  5. Twosocks says:

    Rereading your review Suntse, not really anything to add. The challenge of telling such a big story within the time constraints meant, other then Vera, many of the characters were just touched on.

    I know there was some criticism out there with changing Victor’s story, but there were other changes from the book, too. I didn’t have a problem with it. At some point you have to accept this is a different medium. I was glad I had read the books (both Testament and Letters) before I saw the movie. I felt like it gave me a bit of depth into the story I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    My favorite Victor scene was his little conversation with Vera on the bench. I felt I could see a little spark of that thing Colin does best, which is letting us somehow see what’s going on inside.

    Like you, I am still hoping that we get to see this on the big screen.

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