Tom & Viv (1994)

Tom & Viv


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Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Hastings, Adrian Hodges
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 8, 2003


as Tom Eliot

as Vivienne Haigh-Wood

as Rose Haigh-Wood

as Maurice Haigh-Wood

as Bertrand Russell

as Charles Haigh-Wood

as Louise Purdon

as Virginia Woolf

as Bishop of Oxford

as Sir Frederick Lamb

as W.I. James

as W.I. Janes

as Secretary

as Edith Sitwell

as Man No. 1

as Man No. 2

as Dr. Cyriax

as Captain Todd

as Telegraph Boy

as Dr. Reginald Miller

as Concierge

as Mr. Davis

as Young Man
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Tom & Viv

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (9)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | December 2, 1994
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | July 7, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Tom & Viv


This is a biopic of the life of poet T.S. Eliot (Tom) and Vivian Haigh-Wood, and their lives together. There are just so many things that deter excitement when it comes to this film, though their real relationship was rather bitter and caustic, which usually makes for decent biopics. The events of their lives have been analyzed by countless historians and there are two conflicting stories: one that Haigh-Wood was mentally insane and was sent away to an institution, which has been pretty accepted throughout time, and two, that Haigh-Wood was made insane by a misdiagnosis and sentenced to an asylum for the rest of her life, imprisoned by her husband and to a lesser extent by her brother. The latter is the now proven truth, and makes up the film's structure. Now, watching the actual film, you are not given that impression, because Eliot seems to be sympathized with. Throughout the film we see Haigh-Wood's declining health, her errant behavior, loud outbursts and crude language and actions. Eliot is shown to be soft spoken, reserved, and inclined to finally be part of the literary community, while Haigh-Wood is raucous and seems to be trying to oust her husband. She is supposed to be a free spirit, but that's not how it comes across. Eliot obviously wants to be respected with his poetry, and though he is shown to go to extreme lengths to do it, he doesn't tell Vivian to shut up, to take more medication, or threatens her in any way. The film shows that he plots to stick her away, and freezes her assets, making her a prisoner. This seems strange since he could have just divorced her, and though this may be the truth, it's not presented very clearly. A lot of stuff gets muddled in translation and then it ends abruptly. Even if it were truthful, it wouldn't make any sense, between the subdued murmur of Willem Dafoe and the shrill yells of Miranda Richardson.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

An great film. An amazing cast. A tragic love story.

Robert C

Super Reviewer


Sometimes biopics get lost and this is another prime example of one. Eliot's charm on the page is not translated into an interesting character despite the best efforts of Dafoe.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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