Review by LukeRipa
Testament Of Youth is a movie that, since the very first shot, establish itself as a work about war and its consequences. You don’t need to know anything about the book or the writer who wrote it. In these sense, this is the best thing the movie overall succeed in, putting you into United Kingdom of World War I, and the point of view of Vera Bittain.
As said, Testament Of Youth, wrote is a memoir of Vera herself and published between 1920-1925. The movie highlights, during the whole set up, the beauty of life itself and how war, with its futility, ruins everything we worked for.
If the book eventually became so important and eventually making it a bestseller, and consecrate Vera has one of the most important pacifist in the whole world, the movie will be easily forgotten.
The movie has a great ensemble cast, highlighting Alicia Vikander’s Vera (who’s 2015 has been great so far, thanks to Ex-Machina and underrated Man From U.N.C.L.E.), testing once again her talent, beyond her beauty. Taaron Egerton play’s Edward, Vera’s brother, and overall he plays his part, although both Kingsman and Legend showcase his talent better. Kit Harington (Jon Snow in Game Of Thrones) and Colin Morgan (Merlin in BBC’s Merlin) played their part too, maybe somewhat dry in case of Harington.
Technically, the movie is beautiful to watch. Apart from the actors, we have a beautifully shot movie, from the location, to the actual framing. Plus, the editing is actually on point to deliver the drama (and melodrama) and the sadness the characters’ feel. The soundtrack is usually delivering as well, although is pretty much anonymous, as it’s the classical WWI or WWII soundtrack we always hear.
So, why is this movie forgettable? Because, unlike the book at its time, everything we see on screen we already seen in tons of other movie, that were clearly were maybe inspired by Vera’s memoirs. Unlike Spielberg’s War Horse, also, the movie fails to deliver any poetry. Yes, both movies are quite different in both intent and narration, but the film clearly attempt to be poetic by putting poetry itself into the it, and it doesn’t really work out, it just result to be too much on the nose.
In the end, Testament of Youth only function, apart from being on the actor’s and director’s resume, will be strictly educational, with schools, not just in UK, showing the movie to the students to show them how World War I was ‘somewhat’ like. And to those who are in search of melodrama. And it’s just fine like this.