TESTAMENT (1983) - Mania.com



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TESTAMENT (1983)

By Anna L. Kaplan     June 11, 2000

This film tells the story of a family from a small Northern California town in the wake of a nuclear holocaust. One seemingly normal day, Carol Wetherly (Jane Alexander), her children and neighbors, are cut off from the rest of the world after the bombs fall. The town tries to hold together without power, services, or word from outside. As the survivors gather at town meetings and ration necessities, radiation sickness starts to take its inevitable toll. Directed by Lynne Littman, this is a small film, with no spectacular visual effects. The screenplay by John Sacret Young (story by Carol Amen) and remarkable performances by the cast give the film its sense of authenticity. Jane Alexander received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of a mother forced to watch two of her children die. TESTAMENT came out during the Reagan years, as we amassed an overwhelming nuclear arsenal. I lived in Northern California, where scientists publicly stated that no one could plan for or survive an all-out nuclear war. Moviegoers in my city of Santa Rosa left the theater weeping, terrified and amazed by TESTAMENT, which made the aftermath of a nuclear war more real than the telefilm THE DAY AFTER, or Britain's THREADS. TESTAMENT did not seem like science fiction to me, or even fiction at all, but rather a glimpse at a not-too-distant future.

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