Director: Mike Nichols
Writers: Ernest Lehman, Edward Albee
Staring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis
Streaming: HBO MAX
Release Date: June 22, 1966
I get why this one is called a classic. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? is filled with enough poison, spite and malice to take down a hoard of rabid elephants. While George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) say they love to have fun playing games, nothing is further from the truth. The pair of actors give a two all-time performances and match each other blow for blow.
The bitter married couple envelope the young couple of Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis) in their bitter battle when they invite them into their home for a night cap. The four partners of chaos switch conversation parties as if their line dancing, but every step is like trying to balance on a beam over a pit of snapping piranhas who feed on your insecurities. In particular, George absolutely undresses Nick on numerous occasions and fames to accept defeat in certain arguments.
While the disdain was simmering from the start, the lid popped off when Martha told Honey of her and George’s son. A son, that does not exist. An imaginary son that acting like a levee to keep the facade of a functioning marriage afloat. When Martha told Honey of this son, she broke a major rule. She crossed the ideal into the reality, and that lid can’t be put on that jar. George, in a rage fueled tirade, finally shows the audience why his wife breaking that rule is so detrimental. He creates a story that ends up with the son being dead, and Martha starts to break down saying how George can’t do that. The end of their imaginary happiness is ended with the death of their imaginary son. The final sequence of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? has the pair trying to understand how they are going to continue, but do we know if that is possible?
I wish I was formally trained in understanding the acting that went into the performances of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, but all I can say is that they are unbelievably good. Like downright fantastic. Their chemistry together is remarkable. Their characters treat each other like complete garbage, but it’s a train wreck you can not look away from.
Everyone go and see Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?. You will feel better about yourself and you’ll be in awe of what good acting and a good screenplay can make you feel.
Stanko Rating: A (5.0/5 Stars)
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