In a world where World War movies such as Saving Private Ryan, War Horse and Schindler’s List exist it is a struggle to find a valid reason why A Testament of Youth should join the list.
Director James Kent navigates us through Vera Brittain’s (Alicia Vikander) coming of age during the chaos of The Great War and does so well. The pace of the story is smooth and flawless and the musical score adds rhythm in a way that sets the period. All of which culminate into a deeply emotive tale of one woman’s perseverance despite the multiple losses she faces during World War I.
However, although Britton’s true-life struggle is heartfelt and not without some interest it’s hardly unique and more importantly it’s not exactly something we’ve never seen before. It lacks freshness and individuality and though her struggles were painful they weren’t any different from anyone else during that time.
That said Vikander’s portrayal of Brittain is captivating. Something about her facial expressions commands our attention holding us closer to the story than the narrative allows.
Her romance with war hero Roland is sweet and enjoyable to watch but not overly moving. However the Game of Thrones’ golden boy of the North Kit Harington, who portrays Roland, does show off a different side of his skill set and can now add, sensitive and romantic to his brooding, stoic belt.
The most entertaining of the cast has to be Taron Egerton as Vera’s little brother Edward Brittain. Though not the main crux of the story his understated cheekiness, spritely nature and fearless protectiveness over his sister make for an interesting character.
All in all an interesting yet unremarkable watch.