Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson play T.S. Eliot and his wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood, in a carefully crafted biopic that presents Mrs. Eliot as a victim of sexism.
The film opens (and closes) with narration by Viv's brother, Maurice (Tim Dutton), who introduced Viv to Tom in 1915 at Oxford, where Tom was studying under Bertrand Russell (Nickolas Grace). After a brief, bucolic courtship, they elope; Tom is still unaware of Viv's "women's problems"--a
euphemism for (then untreatable) hormonal imbalances causing menstrual difficulties and mood swings. Their honeymoon is marred by sexual problems, and complicated by a psychotic incident when Viv mixes her medica...