Fresh off the sci-fi indie “Ex Machina,” for which she’s receiving rave reviews, budding star Alicia Vikander is demonstrating excellent range as she switches gears from a playing a futuristic cyborg to a celebrated woman writer in the romantic period drama “Testament of Youth.”
Vikander plays real-life author Vera Brittain, a headstrong aristocratic girl determined to become a writer against her father’s wishes. When she finally meets a man worth loving (who supports her literary ambitions), he — along with her brother — is called to the trenches, while Vera herself joins the war effort as a nurse. Given the colossal number of fatalities in World War I, tragedy can’t help but ensue.
The trailer begins with Vera eagerly anticipating her arrival at Oxford University, only to learn that women have to be “twice as good” as the men. The spot gives us new insight into why Vera opts to leave the safety of Oxford to ship out: “I can’t stay here buried in books, not now. I need to be there.”
While the first trailer for “Testament of Youth” focused mostly on the sweeping — and seemingly ill-fated — romance of Vera’s story, this one emphasizes her journey from an ambitious student cloistered in the ivory tower to a brave nurse on the frontlines of the war — someone who “shall never be afraid to confront the real.”
“Testament of Youth” premiered at the 2014 London Film Festival. Its impressive supporting cast includes Emily Watson, Hayley Atwell, and Miranda Richardson. The film is based on Brittain’s beloved memoir of the same name and the script was penned by Juliette Towhidi (“Love, Rosie,” “Calendar Girls”).
“Testament of Youth” hits theatres June 5.