Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
In this film, married couple George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons. Tiring of attacking each other, George and Martha invite newcomers to join in the invective. After an evening of sadistic "fun and games," the truth about the couple's son comes to light.
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Critic Reviews for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The greatest credit for the implacable engagement that the film creates for its audience must go to the director, Mike Nichols. Nichols makes a stunning film bow with Virginia Woolf.
Edward Albee's vitriolic stage portrayal of domestic blisslessness translated grainily and effectively to the screen.
And in its forthright dealing with the play, this becomes one of the most scathingly honest American films ever made.
Keen adaptation and handsome production by Ernest Lehman, outstanding direction by Mike Nichols in his feature debut, and four topflight performances score an artistic bullseye.
'You have ugly talents,' George says, almost admiringly, to Martha. So does this movie.
"I am the earth mother, and you are all flops," Martha proclaims toward the end, and Taylor never had a line of dialogue that better suited her fighting maternal spirit.
A time capsule now of all that was considered controversial and gutsy in 1966.
If one examines Albee's The Zoo Story, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Tiny Alice as three views of the struggle for faith and the Christ myth and its nuances, the plays, on a particular level, gain a substantial meaning.
Scathing scream of a black comedy that's based on a play by Edward Albee.
Director Nichols, in his auspicious Hollywood debut, and scripter Ernest Lehman smartly keep Albee's corrosively witty black comedy intact, allowing their ensmeble, including Liz Taylor, to dig deep and turn intensely entertaining performances.
A merciless dissection of the intellectual's disease of ennui and gamesmanship.
Great cast plus great script equals great movie! Liz and Dick at their best.
They [Taylor and Burton] spark, shock, hurt, and shout down everyone they love, but mostly each other in this groundbreaking look at lovers and other strangers.
Stunning film version of the Albee play.
It earns the hell that it puts us through by never compromising its vision of it.
Audience Reviews for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Edward Albee's words are magnificent for the silver screen, but it is the performances from Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that truly bring the vitriol and bitterness to the surface. Many believe they modeled their performances on their real life relationship, and that this is the ultimate portrait of a crumpled marriage. Martha and George have a life built on the misconception that they can be happy based on political and social standards, but now, in their middle age, both feel the weight of their inactions and prejudices. They invite over a married couple (Sandy Dennis and George Segal) and spend the entire night fighting and degrading themselves and their guests. The play is about faith in love, and the decay of a relationship that needed to end years ago. Mike Nichols seems impervious to failure, and with this, his first venture, he has secured legions of fans who want to see the drama of interpersonal relationships displayed onscreen again and again.More
This film is a must-see simply because it is a classic, it is expertly written, and Elizabeth Taylor is absolutely mesmerizing. However, while the beginning of the film is full of energy, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? unfortunately delves into a static melodrama. I am reluctant to criticize the film because of its iconic status, but it simply did not engage me in the way that I hoped it would. It's only particularly impressive in the amount of emotion displayed on the screen.More
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Quotes
- You're all crazy. Nuts.
- It is the refuge we take when the unreality of the world sits too heavy on our tiny heads.
- I disgust me! You know, there's only been one man in my whole life that has ever made me happy. You know that?
- George, my husband. George, who is out somewhere in the dark, who is good to me, whom i revile, who keeps learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them, who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy. George and Martha...sad, sad, sad. Whom I will not forgive for having seen me and having said - Yes, this will do. Who has made the hideously hurting, the insulting mistake of loving ME and must be punished for it. Some day, some night, some stupid liquor-ridden night, I will go too far and I'll either break the man's neck or I'll push him for good, which is what I deserve.
- I am the Earth Mother and you are all flops.
- Martha, will you show her where we keep the, er, euphemism? [meaning, the bathroom]
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