Tom & Viv

BB

(out of 5)


Interesting but dramatically weak examination of the relationship between internationally renowned early 20th century poet T.S. Eliot () and his emotionally unbalanced wife Vivian Haigh-Wood (). Not long after their hasty marriage, Eliot discovers that his wife has medically untreatable menstrual problems that have a devastating affect on her personality, resulting in mood swings, erratic behaviour and sometimes all-out spurts of what seems like complete insanity. Add to the mix a pre-World War I British society that doesn’t even treat seemingly sane women with much respect, and Haigh-Wood’s own frustration at living in the shadow of her famous husband while stifling her own creativity, and you have the makings of a grand tragedy. Unfortunately, director Brian Gilbert can never decide what to make this movie about, touching on various social and political issues without diving into any of them; there is mention of Vivian’s own writings but nothing beyond that, and there is no significant investigation into the medical institution’s apparently obsessive interest in passing off every woman with chemical hormone troubles as worthy of a nuthouse. Richardson is magnificent in the role, taking a typical Oscar-baiter and giving it more humanity than just the standard raving lunatic scenes, while provides quiet weight as her heartbroken mother. Dafoe, unfortunately, is lost in the mix in having to take such a colourless character and make something memorable out of him.


British Screen Productions, Harvey Kass, IRS Media, Samuelson Productions

United Kingdom/USA, 1994

Directed by

Screenplay by , , based on the play by Michael Hastings

Cinematography by

Produced by , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1994

Golden Globe Awards 1994

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s