I spend a lot of time at either the cinema or theatre. You will then find reviews from these films and shows!

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Review

A drunken evening Martha and George destroy each other in front of a young couple who have just moved to the town Nick and Honey. All taking place from 2am following a party . . .

I think the best way to start this review is to say that every single character in this film is totally crazy, yet you can understand why. Probably a very scary statement, but for a film (based on a play) to only have four people in it from start to finish is an enduring two hours 10 minutes. Don’t let that running time put you off, the performances in this are utterly outstanding with two Oscar wins for the actresses and nominations for the actors.

It certainly is worth watching.

It shows how much you can destroy another person with words and really get into their head to bring them down. Not a fantastic advert for marriage but certainly showing that if you are together for a very long time with someone you know how to get to them, how to hurt them and yet still totally love them. It was probably easy for Burton and Taylor to create such an incredible yet uncomfortable feeling on-screen considering they were actually married twice and had such history together. You feel strange watching them as parts feel so real, let’s hope their actual life together was not like this.

The fact that the old couple invite the young couple around and are not afraid to show them how difficult and challenging married life can be. Some of the lines are brilliant I am not afraid to say it, often a plus of a film which is based on a play. It has incredible moments were you actually cannot believe they have just said that to each other. Richard Burton totally blew me away as George I thought this was one of the best performances I have ever seen, I was quite surprised to see he did not actually win an Oscar for his incredible efforts. He is horrible at times, yet somehow mixes this with a lot of charm.

Elizabeth Taylor is still mentioned as one of the most beautiful women to grace the screen, yet in her role as Martha she is laid bare and not given an attractive appearance. It is about her problems and mentioning of a son that causes some massive problems, she is pretty much barking mad. Got to love the “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” singing and jumping about to really set the tone of the film from the start.

It has plenty of little twists in the story and you learn how the couple resent one another yet somehow are still very much in love. Both as mad as each other and wind the other up as well, it’s like a competition to them trying to out do the last mean comment. It really does show how you can create a lie so much in your head that you actually then believe it is true as well, especially in the case of Martha.

The acting drunk was fantastic as well, just showing the damage that alcohol can do. Will they all actually remember the antics and conversations that took place in those early hours of the morning the following day? That is something that you can make your own mind up about, as you will know that is not always the case after a heavy night of drinking.

Sandy Dennis and George Segal are fantastic in the supporting roles and really do help Taylor and Burton to express themselves with their characters as well. All bouncing off each other as well, it must have been a very intense film to shoot. All going crazy and being off the wall. I can certainly see myself to watch this one again, the performances and script is just too good to miss and must be appreciated. Best film I have watched recently.

Are you afraid of Virginia Woolf?

13 responses

  1. Love seeing someone looking back at this film. It’s great, right. And those performances indeed!!!

    March 6, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    • Caz

      It certainly is great! So pleased I decided to challenge myself with the Best Picture Project for the blog, watched some very good films with amazing performances so far 🙂

      March 6, 2015 at 3:03 pm

  2. One of my favourite films ever. Burton and Taylor always had good chemistry together. Great review.

    March 6, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    • Caz

      Thanks! I think it could get into my favourite of all time!!

      March 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

  3. Grog the Ginger

    Only watched this one recently but I was really happy I did. Great film with great performances!

    March 6, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    • Caz

      It’s an acting masterclass for me, blown away by it. Pleased you watched it recently as well 🙂

      March 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

  4. I love this movie so much! Richard Burton is brilliant! Elizabeth is amazing too, but her part was a little flashier, so she gets more attention. A great film, the first directed by Mike Nichols!

    March 7, 2015 at 1:44 am

    • Caz

      Yeah she picked up the plaudits for the film from what I’ve looked at. He was incredible though I don’t think I’d like to be married to George haha. Certainly is something else.

      March 7, 2015 at 7:49 am

  5. This is one of my favourites. Part of my TOP – 10 all time favourite movies. Love the play too.
    I actually believe Taylor & Burton’s life together was somewhat similar, ha!!! Reel Life imitating Real Life. Love them both, and I agree, this is one of the best performances of both. Am a great fan of Mike Nichols. ‘Closer’ is my favourite from the last decade.
    Dennis & Segal are superb as the supporting roles. I especially love their entrance in the movie, during a very chaotic, and hilarious, moment.

    March 7, 2015 at 5:06 am

    • Caz

      So pleased you mentioned Closer as that’s on my all time favourites list. I think this could be too after more viewings of the film. Won’t find better performances than in this one 🙂

      March 7, 2015 at 7:50 am

  6. I studied this film in high school and loved it so much back then, I thought it was brilliant and can remember the amazing performances so vividly. Have been meaning to revisit it. Great write-up!

    March 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

    • Caz

      Thanks! I remember reading one scene from it when I was studying A Levels but that was it, so pleased I got round to watching it properly.

      March 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

  7. Pingback: Top 10 – Films I Caught Up With in 2015 | Let's Go To The Movies

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