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Wit

PG-13 2001 1h 39m Drama List
83% Tomatometer 12 Reviews 91% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings
Professor Vivian Bearing (Emma Thompson), an expert on the work of 17th-century British poet John Donne, has spent her adult life contemplating religion and death as literary motifs. Diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, she consents to an aggressive and experimental form of chemotherapy administered by Dr. Kelekian (Christopher Lloyd) and his assistant, Dr. Posner (Jonathan M. Woodward), her former student. Facing death on a personal level, she reflects on her life and work. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (12) Critics Reviews
John Leonard New York Magazine/Vulture From the Margaret Edson play that deserved its Pulitzer Prize, Mike Nichols has made a television movie that deserves not only an Emmy but our baffled gratitude as well. Feb 6, 2018 Full Review Eddie Cockrell Variety A shrewd and triumphant retooling of Margaret Edson's 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Wit tempers its harrowing tale of an English literary scholar's fierce fight against ovarian cancer with a strong strain of the title trait. Jul 7, 2010 Full Review Nell Minow Movie Mom Rated: 4/5 Jun 21, 2005 Full Review Dan Jardine Cinemania Thompson gives a real tour-de-force performance, moving professor Bearing from bemusement to curiousity, fear to confusion, anger to anguish with skilful subtlety Rated: 86/100 Jan 10, 2010 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Nov 12, 2004 Full Review Randy Shulman Metro Weekly (Washington, DC) Rated: 3/5 Jul 1, 2004 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Jeff M This is one of the most emotionally exhausting and painful viewing experiences I've ever had - my heart was heavy for hours afterwards! I can't remember another movie that so vividly portrayed the ravages of illness - not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. Thompson is out-of-this-world amazing and gives probably one of the best performances I've seen. Amazingly - and thankfully - it's also filled with a good amount of humor. The film breaks down the fourth wall, and has Thompson often talk directly to the audience, a conceit I'm not usually crazy about but works for this material. My only minor quibble is that some of the supporting characters, particularly the doctors, come across as caricatures and very one-note. But otherwise this is an experience that you won't forget - even though you may now want to revisit it ever again. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/24 Full Review jon c It's a matter of life and death. For Vivian she's using all of her wit to make light of the situation despite the odds against her. Based on the stage play and directed by Mike Nichols. Emma Thompson is Vivian Bearing. She's a professor that has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She knows the struggles, disadvantages, and the many side effects that will come. For her religion and death are part of literary motifs. Christopher Lloyd is Dr. Kelekian who offers her a form of chemotherapy. The movie has Emma Thompson narrate to the audience her many contributions to the world of English literature. We go back and forth over the last several years of her life. Time can be so still, going through treatment is educational but also very degrading and invasive, tedious is one thing but having a sickness is something else entirely The many emotions Thompson has to convey as a woman nearing the end of her lifespan is overwhelming. But she still gives a tour de force of a performance. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Amazing performance by Emma Thompson in her role of a stage 4 cancer patient. Interesting juxtaposition of her role of an English Literature professor and her expertise in John Donne and coming to grips with her death. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member Prepare for a great performance that will leave you breathlessly despondent. This is theatre art, on film, to be experienced...not so much enjoyed. If feeling temporary gloom, this film may be the antidote to your self-pity. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review Audience Member Excellent story telling about how critical it is for compassion in Health Care! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Powerful. Hard to watch. Worth the effort. Scary since accurately portrays the medical profession and the often emotional abandonment of the patient at her most vulnerable. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Wit

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Movie Info

Synopsis Professor Vivian Bearing (Emma Thompson), an expert on the work of 17th-century British poet John Donne, has spent her adult life contemplating religion and death as literary motifs. Diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, she consents to an aggressive and experimental form of chemotherapy administered by Dr. Kelekian (Christopher Lloyd) and his assistant, Dr. Posner (Jonathan M. Woodward), her former student. Facing death on a personal level, she reflects on her life and work.
Director
Mike Nichols
Producer
Simon Bosanquet
Screenwriter
Emma Thompson, Mike Nichols
Production Co
HBO Films, Avenue Pictures
Rating
PG-13
Genre
Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Streaming)
Apr 17, 2017
Runtime
1h 39m
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