Tom and Viv

Tom and Viv

Director: Brian Gilbert

Cast: Brian Gilbert, Willem Dafoe, Miranda Richardson, Rosemary Harris

     
 

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Willem Dafoe stars as groundbreaking early 20th century American poet T.S. Eliot in this biopic focusing on Eliot's disastrous marriage. Young Tom Eliot meets the flamboyant Vivienne Haigh-Wood (Miranda Richardson) while they are both students at Oxford University in England in 1914. Eliot is studying under the famous writer and philosopher Bertrand Russell (Nickolas…  See more details below

Overview

Willem Dafoe stars as groundbreaking early 20th century American poet T.S. Eliot in this biopic focusing on Eliot's disastrous marriage. Young Tom Eliot meets the flamboyant Vivienne Haigh-Wood (Miranda Richardson) while they are both students at Oxford University in England in 1914. Eliot is studying under the famous writer and philosopher Bertrand Russell (Nickolas Grace). Tom and Viv elope after a very brief courtship, without the consent of her parents and against the advice of Viv's brother Maurice (Tim Dutton). On the honeymoon, Tom learns that Viv suffers from a severe hormonal imbalance which causes frequent menstruation. She is under the care of a doctor who calls her problems emotional and prescribes medications which worsen her condition. Viv is moody, often despondent, and frequently drunk. While Tom works as a bank clerk and tries to establish himself as a writer, Viv serves as his secretary and sometimes his muse, but more and more often she embarrasses them in public with her behavior. Yet her influence prevents Tom, who wants to become thoroughly British and a member of the Church of England, from becoming too staid. Eventually, Tom reluctantly commits his wife to a mental asylum and their troubled marriage continues to plague his life and color his work. ~ Michael Betzold

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Something's missing from Tom and Viv, and that something is Tom, better known as T.S. Eliot. Films (or plays, for that matter) about writers are always difficult to pull off; the writer is presumably famous and interesting because of his work, not his life, and translating literary essence to another medium is practically impossible. Therefore, to provide drama and interest, a filmmaker usually concentrates on what was interesting and unusual in the writer's life and tries to relate that to his work. Viv, Tom's wife, was certainly interesting, and the film devotes a considerable amount of time to her travails. But aside from the fact that she embarrassed and inconvenienced her husband, the viewer learns little about how she affected him. Tom just sort of evaporates midway through the film; he's still there, but he's just a shadow, certainly one of Eliot's "hollow men," but not one which holds interest or demands attention. This is more the fault of the writer and director than the actor; Willem Dafoe does a credible impersonation of Eliot and seems to be doing all that is asked of him. Miranda Richardson, with the much showier part, grabs it and runs for all she is worth, using her enormous skill and facility to create an agonizingly annoying yet sympathetic character. Rosemary Harris brings stately grandeur and class to the role of Viv's mother; hers is a fine and captivating performance. Ultimately frustrating and unsatisfying, Tom and Viv is partially redeemed by the artistry of these two women.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/11/1996
UPC:
0786936444131
Original Release:
1994
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Walt Disney Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Willem Dafoe Tom Eliot
Miranda Richardson Vivienne Haigh-Wood
Rosemary Harris Viv's mother
Tim Dutton Viv's brother, Maurice
Nickolas Grace Berty
Philip Locke Viv's father
Michelle Guish Actor
Donald Paul Pemrick Actor
Geoffrey Bayldon Harwent
Clare Holman Louise Purdon
Joseph O'Conor Bishop of Oxford
John Savident Sir Frederick Lamb
Michael Attwell W.I. Janes
Linda Spurrier Edith Sitwell
Roberta Taylor Ottoline Morrell
Christopher Baines Verger
Anna Chancellor Woman
James Greene Dr Cyriax
Lou Hirsch Captain Todd
Simon McBurney Dr Reginald Miller
William Osborne Curate
Hugh Simon Concierge
Joanna McCallum Virginia Woolf

Technical Credits
Brian Gilbert Director
Paul Colichman Executive Producer
Miles A. Copeland Executive Producer
Phoebe Degaye Costumes/Costume Designer
Martin Fuhrer Cinematographer
Peter Glossop Musical Direction/Supervision
Sean Guest Asst. Director
Michelle Guish Casting
Michael Hastings Screenwriter
Adrian Hodges Screenwriter
Harvey Kass Producer
John Kay Associate Producer
Tony Lawson Editor
Jamie Leonard Production Designer
Jill Quertier Set Decoration/Design
Mark Raggett Art Director
Morag Ross Makeup
Peter Samuelson Producer
Marc Samuelson Producer
Herve Schneid Editor
John Spencer Asst. Director
Debbie Wiseman Score Composer

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