Parents' Guide to

Testament of Youth

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Heartrending WWI drama has heavy content, strong heroine.

Movie PG-13 2015 129 minutes
Testament of Youth Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

A Reminder of Why War Never Should Happen.

At the start of the movie I wasn't sure how it received the high ratings. But as the story evolved, I couldn't stop watching. Definitely a must watch.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 12+

Great moving film, mature for younger children

I saw this movie a few months ago while living in the United Kingdom, and it was one of the greatest movies I have seen in a long time. I was even driven to read Vera Brittain's autobiography, which I would highly recommend. The film is a rare war movie that focuses on a woman and what is happening at home, emphasizing how all people, not just soldiers, were affected. With that said, the actual fighting and war content was far less gruesome and frequent than I would have guessed from the trailer. However, the tragedy and loss that affects Vera's life is what makes this film very difficult to watch. At some points, it does not move very quickly, and younger children may not yet have the emotional maturity to understand this movie. However, it is an excellent film, especially around the centennial of the war, to take older children to in order to remind them of what has gone on in our recent history.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

Veteran British TV director James Kent's feature debut is both wonderful and heartbreaking. It's the tale of a young woman whose dreams came true, only to be cruelly dashed as the Great War ravaged an entire generation of her peers, including men she loved, tended to, and watched die in front of her eyes. Vikander, a Swedish actor gifted with extraordinary acting skills and a truly luminescent beauty, gives a quiet but fierce performance. The cinematographer's many close-ups are welcome, because Vikander conveys so much with her eyes -- from disappointment and anger to joy, love, and grief. Her portrayal of Vera as first a feisty teen and eventually a traumatized young woman hoping to find some meaning in of a war that offered none is unforgettably powerful.

Surrounding Vikander is a fabulous ensemble, from Harington, Egerton, and Morgan as the trio of young officers she knows best to West and Emily Watson as her concerned parents and Miranda Richardson as her feminist dean at Oxford. They all play their parts well, with Harington especially effective as Vera's love interest, Roland -- a young man uniquely suited to her. Roland supports the suffragette movement, has a professional writer for a mother, and writes Vera passionate poems. There's a lot of sadness in Testament of Youth, but it's not played as melodrama. Even a century later, WWI has much to teach us about the irreversible damage that even the most righteous of wars can cause.

Movie Details

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