Testament of Youth is a coming-of-age story about the British feminist and pacifist Vera Brittain (A Royal Affair‘s Alicia Vikander) growing up during World War I. Directed by James Kent, Testament of Youth is based on Brittain’s memoir of the same which chronicled her experiences during the war, including working as a volunteer nurse and returning home post-war.
The film dramatizes the tragic love story between Brittain and Roland Leighton (Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington), her brother’s friend who encourages her to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer. The two get engaged before Roland is sent off to fight in the war. Vera Brittain herself signs up to work as a volunteer combat nurse.
Testament of Youth stars Alicia Vikander, Kit Harrington, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Hayley Atwell, Miranda Richardson, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton and Anna Chancellor. For her performance, Vikander has been nominated for Best Actress by the British Independent Film Awards.
Testament of Youth premiered at the BFI London Film Festival. The Playlist‘s Oliver Lyttelton writes, “Where [Vikander], and the film, shine brightest are in the little moments… It’s the way the film captures beautifully, painfully specific moments that makes it distinctive. Testament of Youth is a film of snatched images and lingering memories.”
Testament of Youth is a searing story of love and war. Based on the classic First World War memoir, this is the incredible true story of one young woman’s struggle to survive the horrors of war, which robbed her of everyone and everything she held dear, but was ultimately unable to break her extraordinary spirit. Vera Brittain, irrepressible, intelligent and free-minded, overcomes the prejudices of her family and hometown to win a scholarship to Oxford.
With everything to live for, she falls in love with her brother’s close friend Roland Leighton as they go to University to pursue their literary dreams. But the First World War is looming and as the boys leave for the front Vera realises she cannot sit idly by as her peers fight for their country, so volunteers as a nurse. She works tirelessly, experiencing all the grief of war, as one by one her fiancé, her brother and their closest friends are all killed and the pillars of her world shattered. But, an indefatigable spirit, Vera endures and returns to Oxford, irrevocably changed, yet determined to create a world in which such a war can never take place again.
Testament of Youth will play in theaters on January 16, 2015 in the UK. It does not have a US release date.