Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

AFI Rank: #67 (on 10th anniversary listing)
Year Released: 1966
Director: Mike Nichols
Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is an adaptation of a play which stayed just in one room, to present the claustrophobic, trapped nature of the marriage between George and Martha. The movie version "opens it up" a bit by allowing the characters to move to another location or two, but you get that same sense of the characters being stuck, imprisoned within walls.

Taylor and Burton play the two main characters, stuck in a marriage which has long since lost its charm. The lure a freshly-married couple into their web, Nick and Honey, and soon the four are sniping at each other, flirting with each other, and mostly getting drunk. It is stunning that no character dies from an alcohol overdose by the end of this. They are drinking down shots of hard liquor faster than most people could ingest water.

I certainly understand the power of the subject matter and, being a divorced woman in her mid-40s, I realize that relationships can be trouble. I also appreciate that we have strong female characters here who talk meaningfully with each other, something one rarely sees in film. But with all of that being said, I grew up in an alcoholic family. To have to watch one unravel on the screen is far from pleasant - I would say it's more like torture. I find no pleasure at all in watching it happen. It's upsetting. I can appreciate that for some they enjoy the people cruelly attacking each other and verbally fencing. For me it's simply painful.

There are different styles of movies for different people. For me, this just isn't a movie I enjoy watching, and I wouldn't want to put it in the DVD player again.

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