Tom & Viv

1994

Action / Biography / Drama / Romance

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 33%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 61%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 1399

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Willem Dafoe as Tom Eliot
Miranda Richardson as Vivienne Haigh-Wood
Simon McBurney as Dr. Reginald Miller
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923.48 MB
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English
PG-13
23.976 fps
12hr 0 min
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1.9 GB
1920*1080
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
12hr 0 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lasttimeisaw 7 / 10

Just for Miranda Richardson, it is worth your money!

Another biography of a literature world's luminary from UK director Brian Gilbert (WILDE 1997), TOM & VIV is about the perturbed marriage between American poet T.S. Eliot (Dafoe), and his first wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood (Richardson), which lasts for 17 years from 1915 to 1932 (separated but never divorced).

It is a refined British period drama, in quaint but steadfast pace, a flamboyant Viv attracts the young poet, the passion speeds them up to elope, but Maurice (Dutton), Viv's younger brother, implicitly hints to Tom, there is something wrong with Viv, a physical ailment or something like that, but, it is rather too embarrassed to say it loud. If we are not familiar with their story, it is quite a challenge to conjecture what's the problem through the movie's oblique approach, Viv is shown to buy some highly contentious medicines in the pharmacy and Tom is clearly in a shock after their (first) lovemaking, and what we see is a blood-stained white bed sheet. They reconciles anyway, and Viv is fervently supportively to Tom's work, to him, she is a great helper and a significant influence.

But Viv suffers from frequent mood swings, due to her irregular menstruation (talking about a corporeal condition aggravates into a mental disorder), an irrevocable chasm is developing through time, when fame catches up with Tom but Viv's bouts of improprieties in the social activities greatly embarrass him. Their mutual effort of love and support is being put to test, and Tom finds solace in Catholic church and grows distant towards Viv, which puts her through the wringer of abandonment and isolation, she becomes a black sheep in her family and her behaviours grows ever more erratic and even dangerous, an institution becomes her only final home.

Never a daft gal, Viv has always been sharp-minded and opinionated, she is no Sloane Ranger either, born with a silver spoon but she makes no fuss to marry her impecunious husband and live with him in a small attic, but the incurable health problem distresses her, shames her and Tom is her sole hope and crutch, when he finally capitulates, Viv rationally opts for her own destiny. Miranda Richardson is meritoriously nominated for an Oscar for her incredible work, to interpret Viv's "moral insanity" with attention-absorbing flair and eccentric mannerism, unpredictable as a time-bomb which is ready to explode at any time, but also poignantly reflects her powerlessness out of her seemingly arbitrary spasms of hysteria.

Willem Dafoe is in his most restrained fashion to portray Tom with an intellectual's unfathomable nature, his soft-spoken delivery obscures the distinction between a tender mercy and a devoted lover, contrary to Viv, his suffering is latent, his final look is frosty and inaccessible, after we learn about Viv's situations, the stance of Gilbert and playwright Michael Hasting on this tragic relationship is fairly manifest. Rosemary Harris, also seizes an Oscar nomination for playing Viv's mother Rose, imbues a sedate facade of dignity from a genteel matron, apart from her immaculate enunciation, her gaze at Viv compellingly evinces affection and disappointment in unison.

At the end of the day, TOM & VIV doesn't disappoint (apart from the pungent whiff of the typical British self-esteem), Gilbert dissects a problematic relationship pickle with its unobtrusive scalpel, a slow-burner worthy the investment of your time, whether or not you are au fait with T.S. Eliot.

Reviewed by gemini_dremz 9 / 10

Artistically Done

I love this film if only for the actors! Willem Dafoe has always been one of my favorites and his portrayal of T.S. Eliot is wonderful, but Miranda Richardson's role as Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot is phenomenal. At first you have sympathy for Eliot because you think he's married to a nut case though we're never really told what's wrong with Vivienne other than "women's problems". However, as the movie moves on and you listen to the occasional narration of Vivienne's brother Maurice, you turn your sympathy towards Vivienne. Remembering Tom Eliot is an American, it's tedious watching him turn into the perfect Englishman as he'd always wanted. I do love the period costumes, cars and decor; very beautiful scenery as well. It's a rather sad story of secrets, denial and betrayal and in the end you feel left unsatisfied because once Vivienne is committed, she never gets out. One must wonder if she didn't choose to stay by her own accord even after being seen by an American Dr. who questions her long stay at the asylum. Tom has apparently moved on and must not have had regrets because Vivienne tells her brother that "I haven't' heard from Tom in ten years". It is at this point Maurice realizes what a terrible mistake he's made and is deeply ashamed of his decision to go along with Tom in having his own sister committed; a woman who was obviously very intelligent. Vivienne is quite an interesting character that leaves you wondering what she'll do next whereas Tom is most predictable. I do recommend this film.

Reviewed by Framescourer 6 / 10

Straightforward biopic of complicated characters

Unlike this film adaptation of Michael Hastings' play, there was nothing straightforward about the characters that populate Tom & Viv. Well, with the honourable exception of Tim Dutton's Maurice. The cast of characters are all exceptional, constituting the creative exoticism of the 1920s. Inevitably this means the Bloomsbury Group, though the film is modest in its examination of those personalities themselves, using Ottoline Morrell, Virginia Woolf and Edith Sitwell et al as a backdrop & foil for the highly strung Vivienne Eliot, rather than out- and-out antagonists.

It is Vivienne about whom this film rotates. She appears to be the life force that drives Tom Eliot on in his decisions and actions, if only through her spasmodic mood swings. It's a very difficult role for Miranda Richardson (who is excellent, perfectly cast) to grade; we need a sense of escalation but also to see that her post-menopausal self is significantly different from how she was before Tom. The result is a rich portrayal, dizzying and distracting from the couple's real dynamic. As a narrative I'm sure it's accurate. As drama it's less satisfying.

Willem Dafoe is a nicely taciturn Eliot, with the same strong features as the poet, if not an obvious lookalike. The attention to design detail, especially in costume is quite excellent. Recommended as a broad-brush primer for this important period in TS Eliot's professional development. 6/10

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