Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Watch Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

"You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games"
  • NR
  • 1966
  • 2 hr 11 min
  • 8.0  (79,397)
  • 75

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 film directed by Mike Nichols, based on the Tony award-winning play of the same name by Edward Albee. The movie stars powerhouse actors Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis. It's a dark drama about a middle-aged couple, Martha (Taylor) and George (Burton), whose marriage has devolved into a sadistic game of emotional warfare.

The movie begins with a quiet shot of Martha and George on their way home from a faculty party at the college where George teaches. Martha, the daughter of the college's president, is drunk and berating George for being boring and unambitious. She lets slip that she has invited a young couple, Nick (Segal) and Honey (Dennis), over for drinks, despite it being two in the morning.

Once the quartet is assembled, the movie becomes an intense and sometimes uncomfortable exploration of the characters' relationships. Martha and George are vicious to each other, openly airing their grievances and humiliating each other in front of Nick and Honey. It becomes clear that their constant bickering is a mask for a deep, mutual despair. Nick and Honey, meanwhile, are naïve and optimistic, but they quickly become embroiled in Martha and George's sick game.

The four actors are all amazing in their roles. Taylor is exceptional as Martha, a character that's equal parts seductive and monstrous. Burton's George is a quieter figure, but he's no less tortured. Segal is convincing as the young, ambitious Nick, while Dennis provides a jarring contrast as Honey, who is much more innocent and vulnerable.

The film's subject matter is difficult to stomach at times, but it's handled deftly by Nichols. The movie is set almost entirely in Martha and George's living room, which creates a sense of claustrophobia and tension. The dialogue is sharp and biting, but it never feels forced or artificial. The pacing is deliberate, with moments of intense emotion interspersed with quieter, more introspective scenes.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a movie that doesn't shy away from difficult topics. It's a commentary on the disintegration of the American dream, on the emptiness of modern life, and on the psychology of abusive relationships. It's also a study of human nature, and of how people can both perpetuate and endure cruelty.

The movie was controversial upon its release, due to its frank depictions of alcoholism, adultery, and profanity. It was also criticized for its portrayal of women and for its bleak outlook on life. However, it was a commercial and critical success, winning five Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Taylor and Best Supporting Actress for Dennis.

Ultimately, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a movie that demands to be seen. It's a challenging and uncomfortable film, but it's also one of the most powerful and thought-provoking movies of its era. The performances are incredible, the direction is masterful, and the themes are timeless. It's a classic of American cinema that still resonates today.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1966 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 11 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 8.0 and a MetaScore of 75.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 11 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.0  (79,397)
  • Metascore