American black and white drama from 1966.
Starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal
Director: Mike Nichols
Writer: Ernest Lehman
Bechdel test: Fail
Martha and George come home from a dinner party and has invited over a younger couple for late night drinks. As the night goes on, it is unclear for the two younger ones if the older couples troubles and strangeness is what the future holds for them as well.
This has so far in my experiment been the most difficult movie for me to watch. The sheer pain and raw emotion in Elisabeth Taylor’s performance got to me, and I had to have a good cry after watching “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. It even took me some time before I could write about it.
The movie is a play performed on screen, rather than stage, and that is evident throughout. I would have expected that to make the movie stale and constructed, but it is entertaining and seems dynamic, albeit gut wrenching.
The story is well written and the dialogue is probably a reflection of the time. It did seem a bit old fashioned now, but that might not have been the case at the time. The audio and visuals were as expected from this era and did not intrude on the storytelling.
What makes this movie worth watching is the acting of the two women, Elisabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis. They are simply superb. The two men are not half bad either, but it is the females that are the stars of this movie. (No wonder they both got Oscars for these performances.)
Each of the two women have a sorrow or shame in their life and they express and attempt to deal with their issues in different manners. Through this night of heavy drinking where we follow these two couples, the viewers slowly gain more insight to what these issues are.
To some extent I can say I share the issues of both these women, as can many others, and while I deal with this in completely different ways, seeing Martha’s and Honey’s pain on display for 2 hours and 11 minutes was hard.
“Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” is a good movie with relevant problems for people today, and it is a wonderful piece of acting. I will hopefully not watch it again soon, but that is just because it spoke quite loudly to me.
I would recommend this movie to anyone, but I would also warn any potential viewers that it might be painful to see this night of revelation for four ordinarily flawed people.
Over to you
If you’ve recently seen “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.
30 movies down. 335 to go.
If you want to get “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?
Tomorrow’s movie is “Rome, open city” or “Roma città aperta”. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.
Until next time; live long and prosper.