At last! I have decided to review Vita & Virginia. You should all know that I’ve seen this movie… Oh, probably five or six times now, possibly more but I can’t remember at this point. I first watched it a year ago and back before I was pregnant it used to be my go-to movie when I had a cocktail and needed writing inspiration. To date, this is my favorite queer Historical film.
It’s hard to say what I love most about this movie. Is it the historical women who are the main characters? Or the actresses, who both do such a good job? Or is it the music? Watching this movie for the first time what I noticed right away was the music. Its modern sound is perfect for the atmosphere, it’s modern but somehow it fits so well. I think it’s honestly all of the above. I truly think that the writers and director did a fantastic job. Although interestingly, the first time I watched this I did not like Gemma Arterton in the role of Vita, I didn’t think she played a convincing bisexual, but the more I’ve watched the movie the more I’ve grown to apricate the nuance of her performance.
“Stay in this moment. No one ever says that.” – A line Virginia says in the film.
The story follows Vita after she meets writer Virginia Woolf at a party, and she becomes determined to have Virginia in her life. There’s an attraction between the women right away, but Virginia is often ill and Vita lives life at full speed. The two begin writing letters to each other and of course fall in love.
I love the bits from their letters, how they romance each other through the words they write to each other. From what research I’ve gathered a lot of the letters, and a good deal of lines in the movie are from the actual letters between the women. Which is so cool. Every time I watch this movie I want to write letters to people. 😀 I also love the representation of Virginia’s relationship with her husband Leonard, how he took care of her, which was really unusual for the time, and also how he wasn’t jealous when she started seeing Vita. I thought the representation of polyamory in the film was okay, not the best but not terrible. Leonard and Virginia have a healthy relationship. Vita and her husband on the other hand do not, and you can see how the open marriage causes problems between them. I think this is a fair way to show the relationships because not everyone who has an open lifestyle is good at it.
Vita is definitely seen as the antagonist of the film, as well as being the love interest. Is she vilified because of her non-monogamy? Is the story just biased in favor of Virginia? Or was Vita just a selfish person and the film tried to show this? I am never quite sure. But I enjoy Vita’s character, in all her complexity.
Vita & Virginia is a stunning film. It’s perfect if you’re in the mood for a historical romance or if you simply want to learn more about the lives of these writers. Like I said before, it’s one of my favorites and I give it five stars.
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