Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? [1966]

Mike Nichols’s (Closer) film debut, adapted from Edward Albee’s play, is an intriguing mazelike mess of marital troubles. In this tense movie, George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Elizabeth Taylor) compose the ultimate screwed-up relationship. Incisive, extraordinary script by Ernest Lehman (West Side Story, North by Northwest) allows for some stunning performances to erupt. Taylor is at her scenery-chewing best, Burton is even better in a restrained, ice-cold turn. George Segal is certainly impressive as morally ambiguous Nick and Sandy Dennis is devastatingly perfect as naïve Honey. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is like a dinner party thrown by a dysfunctional family: intermittently entertaining but ultimately uncomfortable and a little too long. Though unpleasant it may be, you cannot look away.

 

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