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Testament of Youth (2014)

Testament of Youth (2014)
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Year: 2014
Country: UK, Denmark
Genre: Drama / History / War / Biography
Release Date: 11 June 2015
Duration: 2 h 9 min
Director: James Kent
Actor: Alicia Vikander, Taron Egerton, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Emily Watson, Kit Harington, Joanna Scanlan, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Redford, Nicholas Farrell
Language: English
Storyline: In 1914, Vera Brittain wants to escape her traditional family in Buxton by attending Oxford University with her younger brother Edward and his friends at Uppingham School, Roland Leighton and Victor Richardson. Against her father's opposition, she passes the entrance examination for Somerville College, Oxford. Before enrolling at Oxford, Vera and Roland—who shares her interest in writing and poetry—begin a romance, although she knows that Victor is in love with her. After the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand starts World War I, Vera helps convince her father to let Edward join the army instead of studying at Oxford; Roland and Victor also join, and Roland is the first to reach the Western Front. As long lists of casualties appear in newspapers, Vera leaves Oxford to volunteer for the Voluntary Aid Detachment as a nurse tending the wounded in a hospital in England.

His friends still see the war as exciting, but Roland tells Vera of his traumatic experiences from trench warfare at the front. He proposes to Vera; they will marry during his next home leave. Roland returns to France, now with Edward. Roland writes in late 1915 that he has been granted leave, and is safe away from the front. As Vera awaits his arrival during the Christmas holiday, Roland's crying mother tells her on the telephone that he has been killed. The army tells Vera and Roland's family that he died "bravely and painlessly". After she demands the truth, George Catlin, who saw the wounded Roland in Louvencourt, admits that Roland died from his abdomen gunshot wound in agonising pain. When Victor, blind from his own injuries, arrives at Vera's hospital, she proposes to him because he is "going to need someone" and "I... Well, Roland would like it", but he gently turns her down before suddenly dying from his head injury.

In 1917, Vera asks to transfer to France to be closer to Edward, but her first assignment is to treat wounded Germans. She is reluctant, but learns that they suffer and die like English soldiers. Vera finds Edward among the dying, and helps to save his life. After recovery she is glad that he is sent to the safer Italian Front. Edward insists that Vera return to her Oxford studies after the war. Vera returns home after her mother has a nervous breakdown. She sees a telegram being delivered and learns, from her father's weeping, that Edward has died. With the death of Geoffrey Thurlow, another friend of Edward's, Vera has now lost in the war the four young men closest to her.

In 1918 Vera cannot celebrate as crowds cheer the Armistice with Germany. Back at Oxford, she has nightmares about Roland's and Edward's deaths. Winifred Holtby, another student at the college, helps Vera cope with her trauma. Vera attends a public meeting where speakers debate how to punish Germany for the war. Most of the audience is against George Caitlin, who warns that "the philosophy of 'an eye for an eye'" could cause another war. Vera confesses her guilt over persuading her father to let Edward join the army, and tells of how she held the hand of a dying German soldier, who was no different from her brother or her fiancé. She says that their deaths have meaning "only if we stand together now and say 'No'" to war and revenge.
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