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The act of writing is mostly a boring and thankless task, which is why films about writers should never show them doing it. A person at a desk with a quill or a computer is not a cinematic image; a voiceover reading, verbatim, words the audience knows to be famous, as though they arrived on the page spontaneously and fully formed, will always feel fake. Based on Eileen Atkins’s 1992 play, this film about the romance between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West (played by Elizabeth Debicki and Gemma Arterton) is so desperately focused on telegraphing Woolf’s genius through her “exquisite language” that it forgets to utilise the language of cinema. Debicki (The Tale, Widows) is wonderful as Woolf, a wry and solemn observer, but the rest of the film is all too literal.
Writer-director Chanya Button uses animated tendrils of ivy to communicate the overgrown chaos of Woolf’s inner world, while dialogue leans heavily on the pair’s original correspondence rather than communicating its charge.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Vita & Virginia review – leaden take on a Bloomsbury romance | Biopics