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quietearth [Celluloid 09.01.07] post apocalyptic movie review



Year: 1983
Director: Lynne Littman
Writers: Carol Amen (story) & John Sacret Young (screenplay)
Cataclysm type: Nuclear
IMDB entry: IMDB
Trailer: N/A
Amazon link: link
Post apocalyptic concentration: 5 out of 10
"Mad Max" level: 0 out of 10
Review by: wilcoy
Rating: 7 out of 10
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Key Characters:
Carol Wetherly (Jane Alexander)
Tom Wetherly (William Devane)
Brad Wetherly (Ross Harris)
Scottie Wetherly (Lukas Haas)
Mary Liz Wetherly (Roxana Zal)
Henry Abhart (Leon Ames)


"Some of the happy family, there was a lot of buildup"



"First it starts with the tv going out"

Overview:
Testament is set near San Francisco, CA in a small town called Hamlin during the early eighties. The film follows a family that tries to survive a nuclear attack that has destroyed nearby San Francisco and most of the major cities of The United States. The family and the town try to cope with isolation from the outside world and radiation sickness. Most of the town unfortunately succumbs to radiation sickness and the few survivors try to carry on the best as they can.


"Then the nuke hits"

The Story:
The Wetherly family starts the day off like many others. Waking up, exercising, and eating breakfast. The father heads out to San Francisco to go to work while the rest of the children get ready for school. Later in the day after the kids have gotten home from school the Emergency Broadcast Services breaks into normal coverage and an anchor announces explosions have been reported in many large cities. Soon after the TV goes dead and a bright blinding light is seen through the window. The mother and three children duck and cover in the living room while the light from the explosion fades away.


"The townsfolk gather"

What happens next is a town that comes together for a short time, and tries to go on with things like they were normal. The oldest son, Brad, takes a more protective role in the family because their father hasn't come back. Brad also runs errands, and watches Henry while he talks to other people on his ham radio. But, weeks later the towns people are dying off from radiation sickness and the town grows fewer and fewer.


"The collection, gathering batteries and such"

The Rating:
Testament shows very effectively the possible reality of what would have happened to any small town in America if a nuclear attack had happened in the early eighties. I would recommend this movie for the serious movie watcher who is looking for more substance and drama from a movie rather than action and suspense.


"This is where I got my fetish for post apocalyptic films!"

Overall the acting and screenplay presented in this film is good. I give it a 7 out of 10.

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Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

I hope it can be seen as more than good. Take a look at the award nominations for this film at IMDB.

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Wilcoy (10 years ago) Reply

Well anonymous, I guess i should have explained why i felt it was good rather than a great movie. I must say that my reviews represent my personal feelings and not others. First, I watched Testament over twenty years ago and just recently in the last few weeks. I reached the same feelings than and now. I felt the movie first of all was too predictable and i could see half way through how the movie was going to end so i could argue beyond half way i didn't feel i needed to watch anymore. Second, there wasn't any memeroble characters or anyone other than the mother that stood out. Third, The direction of the movie dosen't give the viewers any understanding if hamlin is dying from just the intial readation burst or just fallout or both. That begs the question why wouldn't you try to leave Hamlin and save your family. The writers and direction leaves you with the feeling of helplessness and one may argue that this is the case. All in all Testament is a (good) movie but not a great movie and its not a movie i wouild watch again.

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Emma Thrasher (9 years ago) Reply

I watched Testament 2 years ago for the 1st time because I love post-apocalyptic movies. The movie was interesting but dreadfully sad. All I kept thinking throughout this movie was, "why are these people walking around above ground exposing themselves to radiation?" How do you go on as if nothing happened after a nuclear attack? Doesn't anyone in this town know anything about the effects of radiation? Of course, this movie was intended to discourage the powers that be from waging nuclear war because if they did, everyone everhwhere would die, if not from the initial blasts, then from the effects of the radiation. Well duh, if they expose themselves to the radiation they will die! If they stayed in bomb shelters, basements, etc. most would probably have lived. Worth watching though.

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david (9 years ago) Reply

I disagree.

The fact that people were walking around, trying to live their daily lives is a testament in itself. The denial, the shock, the sense of wanting to make Everything All Right Again is a very human characteristic.

I find this film to be emotionally devastating and, like Threads, the utter futility of such a situation. We're used to calling situations like 9/11 a "national distaster". Small potatoes compared to this.

In the aftermath of World War III there are no heroes, only victims who take longer to die.

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

I think that this movie didn't really flow. We watched in my AP English class this week and I just felt like it skipped from part to part. It really threw me off when I saw the kid's bottom bleeding from the radiation. Carol must have been a strong mother. I had to write a movie review over it and came at a lost of words. Showed a lot in a short period.

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Gumby666 (7 years ago) Reply

Saw this movie when it first came out and damn near cried. Most movies are givien a happy or optimistic ending. At that time, people kept expecting some rabbit to pop out of a hat and save the day. but, the day was over, and the people lost. People didn't then, and don't now, know what to do with a movie that shows the futility of an atomic apocalypse. Where do you go, when you have nowhere to run? Stay in their bomb shelter? You try staying in a small place like that for day after day, week after week. This is more of a drama of a death of a dream than an action oriented movie of a bunch of people fighting the good fight and winning. I say, see it and weep, we have learned little since then.

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

I love this film, I will ALWAYS love this film. It's sweet, and sad.. I love Jane Alexander in it, as the mom, but there are other memorible characters as well! The thing that really gets me is the sweetness between a mother and her children.

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

How do you bury your child? That just killed me. But you know what, the feeling I am left with, after the gut wrenching sadness subsides, is that I am so incredibly lucky to be alive!! Definitely, watch it! It will free you! (at least temporarily)

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agentorange (7 years ago) Reply

Agreed. Great movie. One of the best made for TV movies anyway. Thanks for leaving your thoughts :)

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

I saw this movie for the first time a few nights ago on late, middle of the night antenna tv - I have not been able to stop thinking about it - because I believe this is exactly how it would be if we had WW3 - none of us would survive but hopefully would have the dignity that the characters had in this movie.


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