You Don't Want to Watch the Trailer for 'Virginia'... Because It is Lying to You

Virginia movie trailer
Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly in Virginia
Photo: eOne Films

Unless I am mistaken, there was only one film during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival I did not review. That film was What's Wrong with Virginia. I despised the film on most every level, but speaking about it now, and seeing this just released trailer for it, I can tell you right now they aren't selling the film for what it is. Even the opening scene shown in the trailer is a lie. In the film it doesn't play as comical as much as it is tragic.

he film will be distributed by eOne Films on May 18 under the title Virginia, which, like the trailer, is an attempt to soften the more tragic elements of the film. To get to that point, here's the synopsis:

Written and directed by Dustin Lance Black (Milk), Virginia stars Jennifer Connelly in the title role as a beautiful yet unhinged single mother who struggles to raise her son Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson) while dreaming of escaping her small Southern boardwalk town. Her long time affair with the very married, Mormon Sheriff Richard Tipton (Ed Harris) is thrown into question when he decides to run for public office. Things are further complicated when Emmett begins a romantic relationship with Tipton's daughter (Emma Roberts). Virginia and the town--populated by Amy Madigan, Toby Jones, Yeardley Smith--are full of secrets and everyone knows Virginia can only keep things together for so long. Virginia is a funny, touching drama that looks at the American Dream and what it takes to keep it together.

What's most interesting is that final sentence, the "funny, touching drama" part because that just isn't true. So many people walked out of this movie in Toronto, I can't for the life of me ever suggest anyone see this movie. I know that isn't a very nuanced or well thought out critique, but I would never dare watch the movie again to give it anything better.

The elements that play in the trailer with the implication they are funny are actually elements of Virginia's mental decay. The original title was more apt, what is wrong with Virginia? The answer is she's got problems as does this film... loads of them. You are left to wallow in her misery and declining state and it isn't fun. Ugh, it makes me sick just thinking about it. Funny and touching, yeah right.

  • Sid Gimmel

    Everyone I talked to that saw it at TIFF loved it. And, you got the release date wrong.

  • Michael V

    I've heard different, heard from people who saw the movie at TIFF thought it was great, most of them said Jennifer Connelly gives an Oscar-worthy performance.

  • David

    I've also heard positive things. Never forget that Brad's the guy that gave 'Extremely loud and incredibly close' an A-grade.

  • Paul

    Well if this is a negative movie about Virginia, it would make sense, because Virginia sucks total ass, especially small areas. It is the most boring, small town everyone talks about each other kind of place. I hate it. Period. Moving...

  • Roberta Hendrickson

    Oh no. I had high hopes for this. This film sounds/looks awful. Not sure what to make of the fact that it was ridiculed when it was first released (most critics disliked it, others thought it was mixed at most), that it took awhile to find distribution (two years for an Academy Award winner? not good) and that it seems that it had to be entirely recut. It looks like a madcap comedy now (stereotypical Mormons? pantyhose pregnancy? holding up a bank in a gorilla mask?) Maybe it'll be better? Hopefully?

  • Winchester

    When a movie is rumoured to be this bad it invariably makes me need to see it to see if I find that to be case. Thus, perversely I'm kinda more curious about it now. I would have thought after How Do You Know I WOULD know. But nope.

  • Lilly Taylor

    It seems pretty good to me. Really different from what you see these days. And I love filmmakers who take risks. Also Connelly seems great here. Trailers are always lie but I prefer when they are not perfect because when they are it usually mean that the movie is really bad : they put all the best scenes in the trailer and the actual movie is for s***.

  • Calvin

    I saw it at TIFF back in '10 and loved it! I know I am biased though as Jennifer Connelly is my all time fav. But my bf, who isn't biased loved it as well. I liked that it was original, and didn't know where it was gonna go, so that most things in it ended up being a surprise. I can see how some people wouldn't have liked it, but I am very surprised that it was hated this much. The film got a standing ovation when I saw it.....

  • Brighton

    I don't understand why someone would be warning others not to see a movie they haven't even seen themselves, sure he saw the version released at TIFF, but as he even mentions in the article, and has been mentioned elsewhere it's been significantly recut. So it seems people might want to hold judgement of this version until they've actually seen it.

    And I too might be biased as I will sit through pretty much anything if it has Jennifer Connelly in it (except Mullholland Falls, did not make it through that one.) But I think everything should be given a fair shake based on it's merits, and you can't do that if you haven't seen the film as it's now cut. (Its surprising how big a difference re-editing can make, but also this "review" doesn't mention anywhere the fact that a fair number of people who saw it at TIFF actually liked that version he hated so much. He just made it sound like everyone had the same opinion he did when that's obviously not true.
    I hope this guy isn't what they are trying to pass off as a legitimate film critic these days, I've read more professional sounding reviews in high school newspapers.

    • Michael V

      Thank you!! I saw The Three Stooges even (Been a fan of them since I was 3 and also a fan of The Farrelly Bros) even with some people telling me not to watch it judging by the trailers and I ignored the hell out of them and I saw the movie, I laughed my butt off. Loved it.