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Vita and Virginia

Country: Ireland | UK, Language: English, 110 mins

  • Director: Chanya Button
  • Writer: Eileen Atkins; Vita Sackville-West
  • Producer: Simon Baxter; Katie Holly

CGiii Comment

Oooh Bohemia...wherefore art thou sweet Bohemia?

Well...there's hardly a whiff of it in this [recent] take on the double Vs...Vita and Virginia, why are you so interesting [to filmmakers]? Your allure seems 'lost' on most.

As the title suggest, this is more about Vita/Orlando...and, according to this...the sexual predator that she [seemingly] was...as well as being a self-centred spoilt brat, sapphically selfish and rather narcissistic. Apart from those irredeemable qualities, she's an absolute hoot! And, forever, immortalised within the pages of Mrs Woolf's masterwork: Orlando.

Virginia, on the other hand, is just plain dull. Spouts endless obscurities and, quite frankly, would bore the pants off of any poor sod who - unfortunately - landed in her company...apart from her long-suffering, laid-back, all-accepting, all-forgiving, jealous-free, permanently-panted, sex-free husband...who does [seemingly] have physical urges. In other words, he's a doting doormat of a man.

Vita's husband - as the period dictated - is a closet case, a dandy diplomat. T'is the archetypal marriage-of-convenience...for both. So...their allure is plain to see...money, madness and mayhem...in Bohemian Bloomsbury...this is a far-removed-from-reality, elite Bohemia.

And that's the problem with the film...it's far-removed from anything 'real' - if they [the characters] are not talking in riddles...then, they wax on lyrically...it's exhausting to listen to, just say what you mean!

But no...the dialogue has been gleaned from the letters these two 'in-and-out-of-love' writers sent to each other...showing off on the page [as they do]...alas, does not [comfortably] transfer to [screen] dialogue. If it works in the theatre...for cinema, it requires a radical re-write! Ooops.

Everything about this production is quality...apart from that bloody script. And, the incredible reserve...it needed a bit more madness, a lot more mayhem. Definitely, a vital injection of joy. These are not mere characters, these people lived...made their mark indelibly, Chanya Button ought to have donned her Bohemian cap when sitting in the director's chair...if she had, this would have been a completely different and more engaging film.


The(ir) Blurb...

Vita and Virginia is a love story of the affair and the friendship between writer Virginia Woolf "Elizabeth Debicki", and aristocrat Vita Sackville West "Gemma Arterton". In 1922, when Vita receives an invitation their paths crossed in Bloomsbury with Virginia. Their romance overcomes all social boundaries, Virginia's mental health struggles Vita's recklessness and neither will ever be the same without the other.

Cast & Characters

Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf
Gemma Arterton as Vita Sackville-West
Rupert Penry-Jones as Sir Harold Nicolson
Isabella Rossellini as Baroness Sackville
Emerald Fennell as Vanessa Bell
Peter Ferdinando as Leonard Woolf
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Ralph
Adam Gillen as Duncan Grant
Sam Hardy as Nigel Sackville-West

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