Ralph Potts reviews this powerful biopic based on the memoir of Vera Brittain that recalls a British woman's coming of age during World War I – Depicting a story of young love, the futility of war, and how to make sense of the darkest times.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Sony Pictures Classics - 2015
Feature running time:
English/German DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Czech, Hungarian, Polish VO, Spanish, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian Bahasa, Korean, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Thai, Turkish
Alicia Vikander, Kit Harrington, Taron Egerton, Emily Watson, Haley Atwell, Colin Morgan, Dominic West, Miranda Richardson
Juliette Towhidi based on the book by Vera Brittain
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
October 20, 2015
"Divided by war. United by love"
Testament of Youth
is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance, based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, which has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times.
Testament of Youth
is told through the eyes of Vera (Vikander), a youthful feminist, free-minded and irrepressible, whose intense romance with Roland Leighton (Harington) is interrupted by the war. The film follows her wartime experiences, which moved her to write one of the most defining memoirs of her time. With the numerous films that depict the ugliness of war and its effects on those both in the fight and left at home you'd almost think that we would be slightly jaded by their similarities. Yet as I sat and watched Testament of Youth
I become thoroughly engrossed in its moving and vivid portrait of the times, the loss of innocence and the tragedy of war as seen from the perspective of a vivacious and spirited young woman.
Based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, the screenplay by Juliette Towhidi carefully and respectfully draws the characters and their relationships, painting them in fine strokes in order to establish not only their connection but a connection to the historical period in the story. The shifts in the narrative's context do well toward building an emotional center moving from points of youthful vulnerability and desire to one's darkest fears and deafening despair. The story/film is an artful remembrance and tribute that speaks on a transcendent and moving level.
Alicia Vikander is quickly becoming one of my favorite young actresses and seems capable of handling virtually any role. Her performance solidifies this film, successfully conveying the varied emotions surrounding her character. She shared wonderful chemistry with Taron Egerton, (in the role of Vera's brother Edward) deriving a tangible and heartwarming essence that enhanced the events depicted in the film. Director James Kent and cinematographer Rob Hardy create a beautiful and stirring snapshot that plays hand in hand with the film's thematic tone while carefully incorporating essential visual cues that propel the storyline.
Testament for Youth
is a moving, emotionally stirring and beautifully told period biopic that speaks to the human condition through the eyes of a remarkably strong young woman. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The rating is for thematic material including bloody and disturbing war related images.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
Testament of Youth comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This 2.39:1 framed Blu-ray Disc presentation features a solid looking video encoding that boasts stable contrast, bright, detailed whites, and gradationally enhanced grays. This coupled along with punchy blacks and delineated shadow detail gives images both light and dark excellent depth. Wide angle shots have appreciable dimension with clear rendering of objects within foregrounds and backgrounds. Close ups reveal lots of subtle refinement as the intricate textures within facial features, clothing, and objects is easily discernible. This isn’t an overly colorful film. Many sequences have a filtered and de-saturated appearance that seems to coincide with the director’s intention. Deep shades of blue and green stand out nicely against the muted chromatic range and look great. Skin tones rarely yield any truly defining complexional characteristics but all appear natural within the scope of the source material. The films elements aren't lent to razor sharpness as there is a pervading "hazy soft" aesthetic that appears to coincide with the visual style intended by the filmmakers. Overall quality is excellent as the video has a dimensionally strong perspective that is visually pleasing.
The DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix is perfectly suited to the source material. Dialogue is rendered clearly with good intonation and average room penetration. The bulk of the presentation is handled by the front three channels. Imaging and directional spacing is excellent as soundstage pans are seamlessly integrated. John Williams’ music score is reproduced by the entire sound platform with the front channels containing the orchestrated instrumentation and the rear channels providing ambient extension. The orchestrated elements are clear, sibilant free and dynamically satisfying. Bass response is held to the upper registers and surround sound activity is limited to subtle venue replication via atmospheric ambient extension and occasional discrete sound placement that effectively supports the events transpiring onscreen.
- (HD) 4 Deleted scenes
- (HD) Testament of Youth: Behind the scenes – 6 minutes
- Audio commentary with director James Kent and Kit Harrington
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, Testament of Youth
is a moving, emotionally stirring and beautifully told period biopic that speaks to the human condition through the eyes of a remarkably strong young woman. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video mated with a minimal supplement package that is highlighted by the audio commentary by director James Kent and actor Kit Harrington. Testament of Youth
is highly recommended viewing for genre fans and deserves a place at the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.
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Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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