Tom & Viv

  • Film
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Having eloped with eccentric aristo Vivienne Haigh-Wood, TS Eliot soon discovers that not only is his wife mentally unstable, but that she's afflicted with a hormonal imbalance causing her to menstruate almost continuously. This is tough on the shy, painfully repressed poet, but so, too, is Viv's increasingly bizarre behaviour, which culminates in a knife attack on the novelist Virginia Woolf. This is hardly the most flattering portrait of the author of 'The Waste Land', yet the emphasis on Viv's extreme behaviour often feels like special pleading, and Tom's precise role in her committal is fudged. Expanded from Michael Hastings' play, the film is too spacially and emotionally constricted to achieve its ends, a problem compounded by flat direction and stilted dialogue. Dafoe concentrates on reproducing Eliot's absurd diction, while the usually faultless Richardson overacts, making Viv's antics appear ridiculous rather than pitiable.

Release details

Duration: 125 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Brian Gilbert
Screenwriter: Michael Hastings, Adrian Hodges
Cast: Willem Dafoe
Miranda Richardson
Rosemary Harris
Tim Dutton
Nickolas Grace
Geoffrey Bayldon
Clare Holman
Philip Locke
John Savident
Joanna McCallum
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