Vita & Virginia

Certificate 12A

(2018) 110 mins

Director: Chanya Button
Writer: Eileen Atkins, from the letters of Vita Sackville West and Virginia Woolf
Cinematography: Carlos de Carvalho
Production Design: Noam Piper
Music: Isobel Waller-Bridge



Set amidst the bohemian high society of 1920s England, Vita & Virginia tells the fascinating true story of a literary love affair that fuelled the imagination of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated writers. Vita Sackville-West (Gemma Arterton) is the aristocratic free spirit who refuses to be constrained by her marriage to bisexual MP Harold Nicolson (Rupert Penry-Jones), defiantly courting scandal through her affairs with women.  When she meets fellow-writer Virginia Woolf (Elizabeth Debicki), a member of the bohemian Bloomsbury set, it is the beginning of a passionate relationship in which each becomes the other’s muse.  With Isabella Rossellini as Vita’s mother.

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Button’s fondness for floating, gauzy close-ups of her leading ladies’ faces, often with a band of sharp focus falling across the eyes while everything else is soft, can feel overworked, and sometimes her insistence on putting the words the women wrote into their mouths as though they spoke them, makes the dialogue stilted. But as the film wears on, these considerations largely fall away, 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.”  Variety

“While the supporting cast gives sensitive, nuanced, performances (particularly Rupert Penry-Jones), Vita & Virginia is the joy it is because of its leads. Lent a contemporary vibrancy by Isobel Waller-Bridge’s music and Lorna Marie Mugan’s costumes, the film is lyrical and lovely and will linger with you long after the lights come back on.”

Creating a true sense of time and place but enabling us to journey through a life that feels real in the here and now and entirely worthy of creating a romantic work of literature, Vita & Virginia delivers as a romance even if it sometimes feels longer than necessary.”  Daily Mirror

Fri 01 Nov Liphook
Tue 19 Nov Chepstow
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Fri 29 Nov Buckingham
Fri 29 Nov Peterston super Ely
Sun 01 Dec Hambledon
Tue 10 Dec Bourton


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