Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Mike Nichols (1966)
It would be easy to write a screenplay (or just a regular play) of a couple hurling insults at each other for the duration of the movie. What Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? does is much more complicated. Along the trail of wreckage left behind by the maelstrom of atrocities the marital gladiators beget is the archaeological evidence that betrays the layers of tenderness, resentments, secrets and sheer history they share. All the complexity of a decades old jointed existence can be witnessed in the few hours of the unrelenting debauchery that is this movie. And what glorious debauchery it is. People are so horrid, so deliciously mean in it and one gazes in gleeful exaltation as they tear each other into shreds with as much gusto as bitterness. They are all loathsome and pathetic, in both senses of the word. As the night progresses the inconsistencies that had been left unexplained start to make more sense and a dark truth emerges that shrouds the film and makes it all the better for it. Richard Burton was very good but Elizabeth Taylor is apocalyptic.