Synopsis by Michael Betzold
Willem Dafoe stars as groundbreaking early 20th century American poet T.S. Eliot in this biopic focusing on Eliot's disastrous marriage. Young Tom Eliot meets the flamboyant Vivienne Haigh-Wood (Miranda Richardson) while they are both students at Oxford University in England in 1914. Eliot is studying under the famous writer and philosopher Bertrand Russell (Nickolas Grace). Tom and Viv elope after a very brief courtship, without the consent of her parents and against the advice of Viv's brother Maurice (Tim Dutton). On the honeymoon, Tom learns that Viv suffers from a severe hormonal imbalance which causes frequent menstruation. She is under the care of a doctor who calls her problems emotional and prescribes medications which worsen her condition. Viv is moody, often despondent, and frequently drunk. While Tom works as a bank clerk and tries to establish himself as a writer, Viv serves as his secretary and sometimes his muse, but more and more often she embarrasses them in public with her behavior. Yet her influence prevents Tom, who wants to become thoroughly British and a member of the Church of England, from becoming too staid. Eventually, Tom reluctantly commits his wife to a mental asylum and their troubled marriage continues to plague his life and color his work.
socialite, craziness, love, poet