Testament of Youth Film Review

Testament of Youth is a 2014 film based on the real-world experiences of a British writer and pacifist, Vera Brittain (1893–1970), who was entwined a tragically romantic relationship with a heroic young man, Oxford and the harrowing times during World War I.


The dramatic film, which spanned between 1900 to 1925, focused on the pressures of men to enlist in war, the lives women and the middle-class civilian population of Great Britain.

Swedish actress Alicia Vikander played tribute to Brittain and her vision as the actress expressed every incredible emotion as though it was a snippet from her own life.

Vlkander brought life to the film from the moments she portrayed Brittain’s emotionally difficult duties as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse across Europe to find a certain closeness to her loved ones at the front of the war, to the challenges and disillusions experienced when completing her BA at Somerville College, Oxford, as she had once dreamed of.

However the film came second to Brittain’s best-selling 1933 memoir, which entailed every detail of Brittain’s hardship during the war. Having met and married George Catlin after the war in 1925 and having had children, Brittain’s daughter, Shirley Williams, spoke out about her memories of her mother.

One of which was a love of her mother’s writing – the sound of her mother’s typewriter as she flooded the pages with her thoughts and her experiences.

When referring to the living ghosts, Williams told The Guardian USA in January 2015 that, “I came to think that as I got to know my mother better. I had the feeling that the white crosses were so deeply embedded in her mind. She could never move out of that sense of them being in the background. They were always there as a kind of stage set and the stage set would never change.”

Testament of Youth was a powerful and dynamic film that gripped onto every ounce of hope throughout the tragic story of love, friendship, torn war letters, remembrance and life as a woman during World War I.

Testament of Youth Film Review. Image provided by Transmission Films and Think Tank Communications.

Details: Testament of Youth | Romantic Tragedy | Screened across Brisbane