Testament - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Testament Reviews

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½ June 17, 2016
Don't expect Threads or The Day After....however, it's a good movie.
March 15, 2016
I still remember reading the short story when it was first published in Ms. Magazine and bursting into tears even though it was just a few pages long. The movie is a faithful rendering. The story is similar to Nevil Shute's " On The Beach" about how people cope knowing they are among the last survivors of a nuclear war and summoning up their best to meet their certain end. This is a smaller, more intimate story as it focuses primarily on one family in a small town. Somewhat clichéd, it is nevertheless a touching story with good performances, especially Jane Alexander. Well worth watching. I was lucky enough to have taped it and am glad I still have the vcr tape. It is a surprise it isn't on DVD or at in iTunes, especially since it features early performances by Kevin Costner and Rebecca DeMornay and even Lukas Haas who went on to star as the little boy in Witness.
½ October 15, 2015
What I learned from Testament is that the state of civil defense in the US is woefully unprepared for any kind of severe prolonged crisis. The department of Homeland security wants today's citizens to be the ones who take responsibility for their own safety. Testament shows the complete fallacy and ludicrousness of such a policy. How much canned food can someone possibly store in their basements? And when will the crisis occur and canned foods have shelf life too? Is it possible to store enough food for a prolonged crisis in today's modern world? After watching Testament, I am convinced that the department of homeland security's policies are unsound and there is nothing individuals can do to sustain their lives in today's world without organized governmental help. It's been proved again and again during Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, yet the government ignores today's realities.
The nice part about this movie is that it shows society can breakdown to complete failure even if there is no violence by the population affected by the crisis.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2014
Testament is open forgotten about in the rather small canon on films that depict nuclear disaster and for good reason..it's good but it pales in comparison to the edgier Threads in capturing likely actions after a nuclear blast.
½ September 16, 2013
Friday September 13, 2013

(1983) Testament
SCIENCE-FICTION

Realistic and sad portrayal about what it would be like after a nuclear explosion, but anyone expecting any happy endings would be very disappointed. Not the feel good movie ever made which can only scare people instead. The movie centers on a particular family and the hardships that she had to endure which I thought is a somewhat limited environment.

2 out of 4 stars
½ September 1, 2013
This movie leaves The Day After, in the dust for quality. It is relatively unknown and didn't get the hype, but it is a much better film. It is excruciating to watch (in a good way) just like an apocalyptic movie should be. William DeVane is billed as one of the stars but he's only in the movie a relative short time. The main stars are Jane Alexander and Lukas Haas who star as a mother and son respectively trying to survive in a California town after a nuclear blast hits San Francisco. It really hits home whether it's truly better to be instantly vaporized or to survive the initial blast where one's birthday cake will eventually be saltine cracker.
August 1, 2013
One of the best films I have ever seen for many, many reasons was this television drama.
September 10, 2012
Excellent and very disturbing film.
June 12, 2012
saw it when it first was released - very powerful and moving. Jane Alexander is an amazing actress. Definitely recommend this movie
May 4, 2012
All to disturbing look at the fallout of nuclear war. Brilliantly acted.
½ April 29, 2012
I think it was US who was most likely to launch a nuclear atack with the religious right in full power in 1983. Although I imagine Reagan wasn't quite as "close" to God as Bush was.

Whereas Marxism, believes in historical determinism, it is materialistic in essence, so if all human life gets wiped out, there would be no chance for communism to develop. While Christian Right is metaphysical in nature. And, you know, "immortal soul" cannot be touched by radiation fallout. And even if every last human "leaves out this world", there is there a better world for believers.

For that reason, there is a scene where the mother is angry with God. I believe she is angry with people who took the risks of destroying this world (in the hopes of eradicating the "evil empire"), knowing there is a better one out there.

We are lucky that Gorbachev was such a pushover. Had it been somebody as cavalier in the power of USSR as Reagan was, we would totally see a nuclear cataclysm, with US striking first.
October 21, 2011
Devastating and Heartbreaking . . . I'm listening to the soundtrack as I write this; James Horner is the best composer of the generation following mine.

My generation's film composers are/were John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, Basil Polidouris and John Williams.

When Scotty dies; it must be the most painful moment I've seen.

The Entire film is a painful experience . . . sometimes its good to enjoy films that remind you of the frailty of life.
cigaretteburns
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2011
These people were incredibly stupid! They were just fartin' around their little town putting on kiddie plays and going to church, pretending shit's normal. They survived for MONTHS after the bombs. They didn't have to stay there and die off one by one. I know they were trying to make the movie as depressing as humanly possible, but it still didn't make much sense. Kevin Costner had the right idea: get the hell outta Dodge! Who knew he used to be Mr. Smartypants? The town didn't start getting sick for quite some time, and none of them had any rad burns, which lead me to believe that their food/water was contaminated. However, the scene where homegirl is rubbing her face in dirt screaming all kinds of nonsense, makes it seem like the soil was radioactive. Which I guess makes sense, since they were burying the bodies instead of burning them. Whatever though, they shoulda just booked it from the fallout instead of waiting for daddy to come home.
½ April 16, 2011
A post-apocalyptic flick, done in a Hallmark movie style, as in prepare to cry! No shit blowing up or people disintegrating, drag! We watch as a family stuggles after nuclear devices are set off across the country. As the people start to die from radiation poisoning, babies, then children, sad part, (cry here).Who will be next? Not my kind of flick, worth a watch only if President Obama is the only thing on TV!
½ February 23, 2011
Though flawed, the film is surprisingly strong and moving despite it's prima facie made-for-TV appearances.
½ December 14, 2010
*** out of 4 stars

A very emotional portrayal of the aftermath of a nuclear disaster.
November 13, 2010
Fine small scale story about the aftermath of a cold war nuclear exchange. Instead of going down the route of "Mad Max" with crazed biker punks or "The Day After" with scientists and heads of state, it instead focuses on a mom trying to hold her family together. The films power comes from it reality and that there is no way you can watch the film witihout imagining what you would do in this same situation. And look fast for Kevin Costner and Rebecca DeMornay in small supporting roles as a young couple
½ August 26, 2010
Of all the nuclear disaster films I have seen (The Day After, Threads, etc.), this film is the most harrowing and deeply jarring. It just goes to show that all the special effects in the world (i.e. CGI mushroom clouds, people vaporizing, elaborate makeup) pale in comparison to raw human emotion. Every loss in Testament felt personal. Jane Alexander gave a heartfelt and personal performance. Easily one of my favorite films of all time.
August 18, 2010
It's a movie about a small community in California that progressively collapses after is loses contact with the outside world after a large-scale nuclear war betwenn the USA and the USSR. It is centered on a family and has a realist, existential stance rather than the usual postapocalyptic landscape with lots of action and special effects. It is a highly interesting movie, with great acting, original characters and a simple storyline. In my opinion, however, the false documentary The War Game (Watkins 1965) is much better.
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