Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Today's film is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  The title has nothing to do with the film other than the fact that they sing it a couple times.  Since one professor teaches history and the other biology, I don't see why they would care who she is or why they would be afraid of her.  Anyway, she's dead so maybe her spirit will come back and bore them to death.

The film takes place between 2 am and dawn following a faculty party.  A young biology professor and his ditzy blonde wife visit an old associate history professor, George, and his wife, who is the daughter of the university professor.  His wife, Martha, is played by Elizabeth Taylor, who is wearing the worst old-lady makeup in the history of film.  Actually, it might not be so terrible if I wasn't watching it on my modern hd tv.  First world problems.  Yes, their names are George and Martha.  Beneath their alcohol-fueled arguments and insults lies a thinly disguised emotional dependence on each other.  Listen, if I wanted to listen emotionally co-dependent weirdoes berate each other and whose only entertainment seems to be making everyone else feel awkward, then I would go to my mother-in-law's house.

The second I heard that Martha had mentioned a son, I thought, "there's no way those two assholes had a child together".  And I was right.  Huge shocker.  Then, comes the weirdness.  Not the weirdness that comes from a get-together at 2 am.  I've been to those.  I mean the weirdness that comes from Edward Albee's works.  Also, Nick and Honey could have left anytime and they don't.

I love how they refer to Honey's "slim hips" as if that's why she hasn't had any children yet.  Lol, I'm way smaller than she is and I have a child. Honey supposed had a "hysterical pregnancy" but it went away.  Chances are she had a miscarriage or an abortion and didn't want to talk about it with anyone.  She might even be pregnant now, what with her constant throwing up and all.  Or, she could have a digestive disorder and need to talk to someone about it.  Throwing up all the time isn't normal.

George seems to have the most problems of them.  He tells this really off-putting story about a boy with kills his mother with a shotgun, then accidentally kills his father while learning how to drive.  He tells it to Nick, a man he has just met for the first time.  He says the boy is in an asylum and still hasn't spoken to this day.  Why would you tell him something like that?  Then, we learn that it is part of a book he was writing, but the university president/his father-in-law forbid him to publish it.  Then, I get the feeling that this might be something that either actually happened to him, or he is the boy in the story.  He has a psychopathic vibe to him.  Like I wouldn't ever want to be alone anywhere with him.

Nick and Honey both represent threats to George and Martha, even if they don't intend to be.  We already know George feels threatened by Nick because he is young (I love how they call 28 young. That made me feel real good) and ambitious, and probably wants to sleep with his wife.  Well of course he does, she's Elizabeth Taylor!

On a similar, but more subtle note, Martha feels threatened by Honey.  All she wanted was for her husband to take over the college, but he wasn't ambitious or aggressive enough.  So, as a housewife, obviously she wanted a baby, but she never could, so she makes up the story of her son, who's "away", in order to cope.  She's jealous of Honey, because she reminds her of a younger version of herself.  In fact, she first describes her as slim-hipped as an insult (as an opposite to bigger, child-bearing hips) to make herself feel better.  She knows that Honey's husband will rise quickly in his department because he has the opposite personality of her own.

At the end, Nick and Honey leave in the morning, and George and Martha are left alone.  We see that they really do love each other, but have a weird way of showing it.  If you enjoy Edward Albee's works, or really want to see how my in-laws would act if they were literate, then please watch this film.  I will give it an 8/10.


  1. This has to have the most biting comments towards others I have ever seen in a film - at least in terms of how many of them there are.

    My take on things was that the older, bitter couple just hated the younger, happier couple on principle and wanted to take them down to their own level - probably because the older couple had started out that way, too, and the younger couple reminded them too much of themselves.

    1. At first I thought they were just hateful, but the next day I watched it again and realized that they were either jealous of their potential or that they reminded them too much of their younger selves too.