Monday, April 16, 2007

Not afraid of Virginia, are we?

Till very late into the movie, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, I struggled to make sense of the mess that was running before me. Had I been in another, more charitable mood, I may have thought it as an unsparing portrait of marital life, but even that, given Martha’s excessive carping, was difficult to accept. Both George and Martha run an endless tug-of-war of abuses directed at each other in what must be a surprisingly vivid blend of sarcasm, anger, confusion and loss. There is not a moment’s respite in this hodge-podge of two custodians of grief getting back at each other for life’s missed chances. Caught in the crossfire is another young couple who has only recently moved to the university George is a professor of history at. Nick and Honey, comprising a Math professor and his frail, retarded wife supply the meaty inspiration to the elders’ games. They do, yes, and play "Humiliate the Host" and "Hump the hostess". If this is getting confusing, watch the movie, and you’d know why Edward Albee chose to include Virginia in the title. But this is mad, mad stream of consciousness, real perhaps, but maddening nevertheless. The ending rescues the story a bit, and the play from which the movie is adapted has provided grist to endless commentaries. But in the final analysis, WIAOVW fails to come across as anything other than the chasm that separates two disgruntled individuals.
All the four leads were nominated for Oscars in their respective categories, but only Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis won.


Anonymous said...
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Pity, I especially enjoyed the part where Burton takes out a gun that turns into an umbrella...ulysses