© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Virginia Woolf Movies & TV

The Hours (2002)

Everyone talked about Nicole Kidman's prosthetic nose, but her performance as Virginia Woolf is what makes this film worth watching (after you have read the exquisite novel by Michael Cunningham on which the movie is based, of course). The film weaves together three stories: Virginia Woolf as she is writing Mrs. Dalloway, a 1950s housewife reading the novel, and a modern Mrs. Dalloway going through her day as she plans a party.

Orlando (1992)

There haven't been many attempts to translate Woolf's stream-of-consciousness literary style into film, and even fewer successful ones. That said, director Sally Potter's gorgeously filmed adaptation of Orlando is great. Tilda Swinton's strong performance and striking androgynous looks make her the perfect person to play the gender-bending title character.

The War Within: A Portrait of Virginia Woolf (1995)

This acclaimed documentary of Woolf's life delves into her biography and inner life. The movie was filmed on location in the places important to Woolf's life and features interviews with Woolf's niece, nephew, and Bloomsbury Group cohorts.

Mrs. Dalloway (1997)

Some have called this film adaptation disappointing, but it's hard to live up to Woolf's novel about a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. The movie stars the lovely Vanessa Redgrave as the title character. The movie is worth a watch.

Portrait of a Marriage (1990)

This made-for-TV movie about Woolf's close friend and sometime-lover Vita Sackville-West earned strong reviews. The marriage of the title is the one between Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson, who by all accounts were very much in love despite her numerous (and well-known to Nicholson) affairs with women. The movie is an interesting portrayal of the unconventional relationships and marriages that Bloomsbury-era modernists experimented with.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Despite the name, this is not a movie about Virginia Woolf (who, as far as we know, was not all that frightening). This film is a chilling portrayal of two unraveling couples. The title of this film—an adaptation of the Edward Albee play by the same name—comes from a song the characters sing in the play. He wanted it to be "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" from the Three Little Pigs cartoon, but Disney wouldn't budge on the film rights. Leonard Woolf consented to have his wife's name used instead. Anyway, it's a great movie.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...