Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Films watched in February 2017

1. Testament of Youth [DVD] [2014] [2015] Alicia Vikander (Actor), Kit Harington (Actor), James Kent (Director) 

I had read the book before I saw the film. In fact I own a first edition. But unlike the usual complaint that the film is not as good, this one is excellent. Cinematography and acting are very good. It starts with Armistice Day celebration then reprises to upper middle class England before WWI. Vera is a strong willed teenager determined to enter Oxford which she does despite the odds and the start of romance, the latter duly chaperoned. But her boyfriend and brother join up at the outbreak of war and soon Vera leaves Oxford to be a nurse, caring for the wounded in England. On leave boyfriend becomes fiancé only to be killed as Vera awaits his next leave and marriage. She does not believe the news that he suffered a quick death and bravely goes to find out the truth. Next she nurses in France, caring at first for injured Germans , then Brits, and among the latter she finds a dying family friend then her brother. He recovers only to die in service. The was over there is a brief but moving portrayal of Vera becoming an outspoken pacifist. I do not usually go for romantic films. This one is a romance and a tragedy, all the more moving for being autobiography. Watch it and weep for the dead, wounded and bereaved of WWI.

2. The Man Who Cried Ciarán Hinds (Actor), Kate Buffery (Actor), Michael Whyte (Director) 

At first I did not find this very attractive with an adulterer leaving home with his son, but the story grew on me. He turns down the offer of a relationship with a moneyed widow and tramps the road with his son in search of work. A good deed for a wealthy man brings hime work and a secure lodging. But it is at the cost of lying about his background and his son's to consent to the lie. I will not do a spoiler but say the story involves bigamy, another unhappy marriage and infidelity. It moves from 1932 toWW2 and raises questions about hatred and forgiveness. Classic Cookson.

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