Testament of Youth

Testament of Youth

James Kent (2014)

12A Certificate


Our Score
The futility of war is explored from a female perspective in this moving British period drama based on the beloved memoir by Vera Brittain (mother of pioneering politician Shirley Williams). Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) stars as Brittain in this beautiful-looking film (originally adapted for BBC TV in 1979), which follows her trials and tribulations during the First World War. At the beginning of the picture, Vera is determined to defy convention by attending Oxford and becoming a writer. However, when war breaks out and her dashing fiancé (Kit Harington) volunteers to join the fight, she decides to postpone her studies and serve as a voluntary aid detachment nurse. The feature debut of documentary-maker James Kent is familiar in places and the running time does become noticeable. But it's nicely shot and there are some affecting moments, while the supporting cast is awash with dazzling talent like Emily Watson, Dominic West and Miranda Richardson. The real reason to watch, though, is Vikander, who delivers an engaging, sympathetic performance that elevates what could have been merely worthy to the definitely worthwhile.


When her fiance and brother are sent to the front line during the early days of the First World War, a young woman gives up her studies at Oxford University to follow them. She becomes a nurse, and the horrors she witnesses during the conflict change her outlook on life forever. Period drama based on the memoirs of writer Vera Brittain, starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington and Taron Egerton.

Cast & Crew

Vera Brittain Alicia Vikander
Roland Leighton Kit Harington
Edward Brittain Taron Egerton
Mrs Brittain Emily Watson
Hope Milroy Hayley Atwell
Victor Richardson Colin Morgan
Mr Brittain Dominic West
Aunt Belle Joanna Scanlan
Miss Lorimer Miranda Richardson
Winifred Holtby Alexandra Roach
Mrs Leighton Anna Chancellor
Betty Charlotte Hope
Director James Kent
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: LionsgateGuidance: Violence.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 16 Jan 2015