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Vita & Virginia

✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Ireland, United Kingdom · 2019
1h 50m
Director Chanya Button
Starring Elizabeth Debicki, Gemma Arterton, Isabella Rossellini, Rupert Penry-Jones
Genre Drama, Romance

Virginia Woolf meets fellow author Vita Sackville-West in London in the 1920s. Despite their respective marriages, the two women embark on a love affair that later inspires one of Woolf's most famous novels, Orlando.

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What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Slant Magazine by Derek Smith

The film frequently falls back on the stately demeanor of countless other historical biopics and period pieces. Read our review.


Variety by Jessica Kiang

As Vita & Virginia loses its girlishness, drawn like the tides to the solemn maturity of Debicki’s performance. With her as the lodestar, this is a stranger and more intriguing film than it really has a right to be, one that becomes less about a clandestine courtship between famous women, and more about Woolf’s relationship with her writing, and with the workings of her own beautiful, restless mind.


CineVue by Joe Walsh

Vita and Virginia is a remarkably chaste and safe film given its wealthy subject matter.


The A.V. Club by Mike D'Angelo

Once Sackville-West gets bored with Woolf and starts seeing another woman, garden-variety jealousy takes over. Not quite as fascinating as the story of a man who inexplicably metamorphoses into a woman and doesn’t age for 300 years.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

The drama – featuring the kind of flat, chirruping upper-middle-class English accents that aren’t usually voiced on screen – is intriguing and uncompromisingly high-minded, right on the laugh-with/laugh-at borderline, but interestingly unafraid of mockery.


Movie Nation by Roger Moore

It is a film of (somewhat) mutual admiration and clever, clever words, the product of “a wickedly brilliant mind” (Woolf) and a popular poettess and wit, descended from Gypsies (Isabella Rosellini plays Vita’s disapproving Gypsy grande dame mother), a “a sapphist” with scandalous appetites.


Screen Daily by Wendy Ide

Even Arterton at smouldering full wattage can do little to hold together a picture in which the chemistry between the two leads is non-existent and many of the directorial choices are decidedly odd.

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