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Vita & Virginia 12 rating

Gemma Arterton and Elizabeth Debicki relive a literary love affair, fiery and forbidden, with a remarkable legacy.

Biopic 2018 110 mins

Director: Chanya Button



It’s 1922, socialite and novelist Vita Sackville-West (a vibrant Gemma Arterton) has set her sights on befriending the writer Virginia Woolf (a pitch perfect Elizabeth Debicki), hoping she can learn how to develop her own writing style and be taken seriously by the literary establishment. But from the moment Vita lays eyes on the sensual movements of a dancing Virginia at one of the Bloomsbury Group’s legendary parties, it’s clear there is more to Vita’s intent than simple friendship. An ardent and blatant seduction begins. Vita makes impulsive gestures to the taciturn and resistant Virginia, her impassioned words finally breaking through Woolf’s defences, which find the acclaimed author giving in to previously unknown desires. But their love, even in this bohemian, polyamorous world, is far from simple. With familial pressures mounting on all sides for both to abandon their affair, it is Virginia who makes the biggest declaration, translating her feelings for Vita into her most celebrated novel, Orlando, ensuring their iconic relationship would be remembered for all time.

Chanya Button (Burn, Burn, Burn) co-wrote the script with Eileen Atkins (who adapted her own stage play, based on the lovers’ letters) and has crafted a beautiful romance featuring two powerful performances, with scenes that crackle with tension and the longing that develops within an all-consuming love affair.