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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful movie that will grab you!
I saw this movie with my parents and let me tell you...this movie really grabbed me into being part of the story, part of the movie! Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play exceptionally well! I couldn't help but drop my jaw on their powerful performances between eachother. They made me want to further
become a great actor. This a great movie for anyone who wants to...
Published on June 8 2004 by Alison

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad Sad Story
My initial response to this film was total shock. I was amazed at the method of communication between the two. They are two miserable individuals who have become comfortable in a total failure of a marriage. The hate each other but are afraid to be apart. They have created a an imaginary child as a glue to somehow keep the marriage in tact ( the child being the sole...
Published on April 26 2001 by Gloria Menifee


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful movie that will grab you!, June 8 2004
I saw this movie with my parents and let me tell you...this movie really grabbed me into being part of the story, part of the movie! Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton play exceptionally well! I couldn't help but drop my jaw on their powerful performances between eachother. They made me want to further
become a great actor. This a great movie for anyone who wants to be a
successful actor, director, or anything else that goes with movies. Teenagers (like myself) should see this kind of movie that really makes you think about life and just overall observe the movie and be touched. Nowadays, as other reviews here have said which I totally agree is that many people just watch non-thinkable trash movies. This is a masterpeice which everyone should love! When the movie will be over, it will literally take days to talk about the ending...because it is THAT good!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sad Sad Story, April 26 2001
By 
My initial response to this film was total shock. I was amazed at the method of communication between the two. They are two miserable individuals who have become comfortable in a total failure of a marriage. The hate each other but are afraid to be apart. They have created a an imaginary child as a glue to somehow keep the marriage in tact ( the child being the sole reason for them to stay together). Unfortunate for both Martha and George, she shares with Honey, their young guest, the most sacred and fantical part of their marriage - the baby. She allowed someone else into their fantasy. This was the beginning of the end of their illusions. When George "killed" the baby, he infact, killed what was holding their marriage together... or did he? I felt very sad for the both of them. They represent to me, two miserable people are afraid of life and living.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Atomic Bomb in Your Living Room, July 7 2004
By 
Brennon A. Slattery (Somerville, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The title of this film is derived from the classic childhood rhyme, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" and is used to illustrate the immaturity of the characters and the fright of confrontation. The addition of "Virginia Woolf" into the title is not only a play on words, but a reference to the author's suicide - basically, the question asked is: who's afraid of going insane?
Apparently everybody. "Woolf" is an emotional roller-coaster of a film. The premise is simple: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor are husband and wife. Burton is a somewhat washed up University professor, and Taylor is the University president's daughter. They invite the new math professor and his squeaky, drunkard wife over for a few glasses, which quickly turns into a few bottles, which leads to an escalated, violent verbal assault on everything the four characters hold dear.
Egos are shattered. Relationships are ruined. Children are murdered. By the end of the film, the actors sulk away to their dark corners, exhausted and fragile. The same happens to the audience. If there ever was a "draining" film, this one is it. You feel like you just watched your parents fight for a whole evening. You physically feel tired, upset, angry, sad ... just about every emotion exercised in the film is exercised on your well-being.
"Woolf" is based on a play by Edward Albee, which takes place in the living room. Mike Nichols, in his stunning directorial debut, ventures only a few places other than the living room, knowing full-well that the powerhouse performances by Taylor and Burton especially (as well as the most convincing drunk ever played by Sandy Dennis) will keep the audience captivated. All dialogue in this film, save for two or three lines, are directly taken from the play. Albee said the added lines were "all garbage" - but you won't notice.
This is arguably Nichols best film, and yes, I am including "The Graduate." The cinematography (glorious black & white by Haskell Wexler, who provides commentary on the DVD), the performances, the violence, the suspense, the mind-bender at the end ... everything about this film is absolutely perfect.
Note that this isn't just a marriage disaster film, and there's a great deal of intelligent humor involved. This film also broke censorship standards, with the passionate involvement of the then-married Taylor and Burton, and featured the very first "goddamn" every uttered. Without "Woolf," the perfect TV sitcom family would still exist today. Now deviant relationships in shaky households has become the norm for modern films.
Burton was shafted again by the Academy for this film, but Taylor won a much-deserved statuette, in what is called her best performance.
Check it out. You will not forget it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mike Nichols made his masterpiece with this one!, June 23 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
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I have to make a hazardous statement and I really hope you to think carefully about the fact that somehow, Mike Nichols and Artur Penn were two american film makers powerful influenced by European directors.
If you agree with this , I would say that Mike Nichols has had a clear influence in his first stage of his brilliant career of Ingmar Bergman. Think for instance in three excellent future films of Nichols (Four easy pieces , Carnal knowledge and Black widow)
This long introduction is necessary for understand the weird presence of a dark and even bitter film like Who's afraid...
The film undoubtly has deep roots related with two important films of the swedish director like The silence and The hour of the wolf.
This comment doesn't deserve a bit about the great level of this magnificent picture.
First at all, watch for the resource economy . The film runs at night hours and with two locations .
Two very different couples, one of them extremely young almost teenagers , and in the other side a midle aged marriage. He's a patetic man , extremely weak character (Richard Burton) and she is the unsatisfied woman , and domains the relationship in every little detail.
The meeting with this young couple will allow to Elizabeth Taylor exhibit her monumental skills for acting and give a tour de force performance , that became in her well deserved Second Academy Award.
The script is extraordinary. The dialogues are pregnant of crude realism , the horror, the multiple facets of a woman who has kept in silence so many dissapointments , the countless consequences as result of a poor comunication , the anguish of her about knowing and being the axis of the relationship.
And this is the ocassion for her to eject her most hidden thoughts ; she exploits like a earthquake , literally without a drop of prudence with all the violence that you can imagine and even more , the past phantoms emerge from the deepest dark shadows of her soul .
The hopeless, the loneliness , the sense of going nowhere and however not be able to separate instead the inferno in which she lives.
All this micro universe exploits before us and you feel its impact and the tragedy.
That film is a challenge for any director in any age, but Nichols is a master who besides had the presence of these two giants actors as Taylor and Burton. The house and the garden are the silent background in which this disgraced marriage reveals its intimacies before the young marriage.
You'll be disturbed but plenty of admiration by this splendid work .
A timeless masterpiece .
(With this film Nichols became the first director to reach the one million dollars by this picture.)
Excellent transfer to DVD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flawless. All the way through., May 21 2004
There are only a few movies one get to see where a 10 out of 10 is really warranted after you've seen the film several times. It's easy to jump to conclusions shouting "This is the best I've ever seen" just after seeing one particular film. This one, however, is my fave movie, and I've seen a lot of both contemporary and old movies. Countless viewings after my initial, I still stand tall and proclaim this to be the best drama ever made.
Martha's and George's relationship is that of a long married couple who have grown weary of each other. Yet they cannot leave each other, it's the only life they know. It's the only reality they've set for themselves and they dare not get out. The fights and arguments are, at the end of the day, worth the trouble of keeping your identity, your everyday life, your grasp of reality.
The cast, all four of them, are meticulous in their performances. They complete each others presence, nurture the rivalry, fill the gaps and most importantly-delivers to the maximum of their potential.
Watching this is more like seeing it performed on stage than in a theatre or on your TV in your home. Early on, you get the feeling all is not well between George & Martha, and as the guests arrive, the story is just about
to begin. The presence of the characters adds to the overall authenticicty of the story and the parts they play. It's a clichee, but I know many plays of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" has been set up: none can match the original.
If Citizen Kane is regarded as the best story ever told on the screen, this has to run very, very close.
In a heart-beat, I will give this 10 out of 10. That is saying A LOT, because I am a ferociously discriminating b***ard when it comes to movies!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get Ready to Be DEPRESSED!, May 5 2004
By 
Daniel E. Miller (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
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I've only got a few things to say about this movie: BEAUTIFULLY ACTED, AMAZINGLY CRAFTED & DON'T EXPECT TO BE HAPPY AFTER SEEING IT!!!
This movie is amazing in every sense. The script is fabulous and the actors couldn't have done anything better with this movie. Liz Taylor was absolutely "the limit" with this role - her best one ever. Richard Burton was marvelous, too - he played the downtrodden husband better than anyone could hope for.
The basic guts of this movie are that Liz and Richard invite a young couple over to have dinner and drinks but PLAY WITH THEIR MINDS throughout the entire show. You have to watch the movie to understand the level of this ugly game that they are imposing on their guests. To put it plainly, this movie is a mind f***.
Beware ye, all extremely sensitive viewers, you may watch this movie and be depressed for a few days straight! That's not a joke - it has a tremendous effect on all who watch it.
This movie should be seen just for the fabulous performances of the actors. See it and be depressed, weep, WHATEVER!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully disturbing film, April 16 2004
By 
L.M.W. (Alabama, United States) - See all my reviews
This film is so mentally clausterphobic and emotionally intense that it's almost painful to watch, but simultaneously I couldn't pull myself from the screen. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton both deliver incredible performances as George and Martha, married university intellectuals whose mutual hatred for one another and love for hard liquor spark some of the most degrading and sharply caustic dialogue I've ever seen on screen. But that's not where it ends: enter George Segal and Sandy Dennis as Nick and Honey, a young professor and his wife who come to George and Martha's for drinks after a faculty party. And there the turbulent psychological torture begins.
It's not enough for George and Martha to ridicule and torture each other with their abrasive dialogue; they drag the young, naïve-looking couple into it, resulting in a powerful climax. The entire film takes place over a couple of hours on that one night, so concentrated that it's hard to absorb all that is said or implied between the characters. As the night progresses, the words and actions between the characters become more and more vulgar and degrading; at times I couldn't believe I was seeing and hearing this, especially since it was filmed in 1966. It's a powerful piece of cinema, the dialogue is sharp and biting, the camera angles are superb, and the actors are phenomenal. The film is disturbing beyond words, but incredibly powerful. It even manipulates the viewer's mind; you're being dragged into the psychological torture too, whether you want to or not.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, Jan. 19 2004
'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' is that rare thing; a movie adaptation of a stage play where we know, ever without having to be told, that it originated on the stage. It is a completely character-driven piece, full of intense dialogue, isolation & repression, and a sense of desolation and sadness that not even the most accomplished contemporary movies can match.
George and Martha (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) are having newly-employed University colleague Nick (George Segal) and his wife Honey (Sandy Dennis) back for late-night drinks, after a faculty party. While there, the hapless young couple stumble upon the web of lies and psychological abuse that passes for a marriage between George and Martha, and through a process of drinking, seduction and cruelty, leave with their own young marriage in tatters.
It is simply not possible to make tangible exactly how absorbing Taylor and Burton are in this picture. Certainly Burton's finest hour, he plays the part of the henpecked, abused George with brilliant depth and pathos, and ranges from abusee to abuser with such believable energy and commitment that we dare not look away. The same can be said of Taylor; this film is her absolute finest hour, and in the character of the ugly, foulmouthed Martha she takes the viewer by the throat and keeps us close to her for the whole film. Hers is a character on a par with Bette Davis in Baby Jane, a monstrous bundle of complex neuroses that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, but far more human and believable than Jane, Martha creates fear because she could so easily be real.
Sanders and Dennis are also excellent as the unlucky young couple forced to re-evaluate their own marriage. Although Dennis won an Oscar for her portrayal as Honey, Sanders gives a hugely noteworhty performance as Nick, the ayrean hero subverted by the sickness of George and Martha's situation.
In such a piece, direction is never required to be more than competent, and while the typcial Hollywood decision to have three different locations for the movie will cause some chagrin to fans of the stage play, the rest of the direction is done in the true noir-style. Camerawork is unobtrusive and lighting is used sparingly, to create an atmosphere as emotionally detached as it is devastating.
'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' is not a happy movie. It is the antithesis of the feel-good flick, to the point where you may feel some initial dislike for it. However it affects you, and it will, you cannot help but feel awestruck by the magnificence of the performances or the amount of emotion generated by the leads. A true example of the power of fine acting, 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' is an absolute must-have addition to anyone's collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely flawless performances, Jan. 17 2004
By 
My Inner Chick "KRROBI" (Duluth, MN. United States) - See all my reviews
If one were an actress, Martha would be the meatiest, bitchiest, sexiest, foulest, richest, tastiest, most appalling role she could ever play.
And Elizabeth Taylor plays her to perfection.
This is the movie about a middle aged couple (Liz and Richard Burtain) who love to play strange games. They thrive on it. They delight in it. Their marriage appears to be based on it.
But one night when they have a young couple (George Segal and Sandy Dennis) over for a few cocktails, their little Phychological games get a little dangerous, outrageous, sexually kinky.
I found myself gasping at times, because I could not belive what was unfolding before my eyes...Martha and George find the weakness in people and then begin tearing them apart (Little by Little) until nothing is left. Words can be like razors and cut, cut, cut. And they do this exceptionally well.
The venom rushes out of their pink mouths as if they are creating a web and then there is no stopping them ....Even sleeping with their sweet, young guests is not out of the question.
Martha and Goerge are dysfunction at the highest level, but the writing and acting is so excellent that the audience will feel for them, want to see them redeem themselves, and hope that their marriage will work.
Stunning performances by Burtain,Taylor, Dennis, and Segal...But Taylor shines beyond words.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most effective & disturbing films I've seen, Nov. 5 2003
By 
Phil Rogers (Ann Arbor, Michigan) - See all my reviews
Don't get me wrong - I don't like this film at all - but its portrayal of perverse psychological games was grist in the mill for the generation of college students who were 5-10 years my senior. I got to see these types of psychological/emotional games played firsthand by one of my cousins, her spouse and their friends/associates, albeit on a much less grandiose scale. Those folks were so subtly afflicted, and inflicted this garbage on others, partly thinking it was cool [intellectually fashionable, maybe even Darwinian, or Machiavellian) to do so, partly unconscious of the gritty little bursts of havoc they were releasing on those of us who were too young to have experienced the film, being still in high school during its first run.
Then again maybe the play/movie itself was just symptomatic of those troubled times, before the breakthroughs of our own peace-love generation. Myself, I didn't see ['Virginia Woolf'] until 5-6 years ago, and thus was semi-oblivious to its influence on me (through these aforementioned cousins, etc.).
While I was never tempted to turn this off before it was over (cf. 'Mephisto' - my companion Cindy forced me to leave the movie house in the middle of the show; and 'Under the Volcano' where I forced her to leave) - it was quite the mindbender - kind of like 'Blue Velvet' during its first run (before that film became a cult classic where students seeing it at film societies 5-10 years later were laughing en masse at many of the happenings). My friend Dino and I were harassed by memories of seeing it for 2-3 days afterwards - we experienced it as a real-life horror story without the usual supernatural characters - just ghastly sado-realism at its most intense level.
'Who's Afraid . . .' certainly doesn't have any of this type of horrific, almost magical realism to it - but it is indeed macabre existentialism played out, directed and experienced at astoundingly intense levels. [No, not Kafka-esque or even Sartrean - it's clearly its own brand of glib, torrid emotionalism, wonderfully portrayed, but ultimately mind-numbing - probably for some, soul-wrenching.] Is 'suburban' analogous to 'subhuman' - it might be if you take this affrontery to innocence and good will too seriously.
Better to rent it first, you may get the gist of it [or as much as you can stand] in one viewing. Then again for those hardened souls who grew up in its shadow, and strangely pine for it - by all means, make this a required purchase. Place it on your holiday wish/hit list.
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