To Olivia (2021) Review

The story of the marriage between actress Patricia Neal and writer Roald Dahl and how they struggling to connect following a tragedy.


To Olivia is meaning to the young daughter that they both lost and could not really deal with that very well. Roald Dahl was not a very nice man it seems, quite frankly horrid at times to both his wife and children, something I guess we never really think about for authors or anyone behind closed doors. I actually found Patricia Neal much more of an interesting character and felt it was a shame the film didn’t focus on her more. We do get to see her trying to relaunch her career in a film named Hud, however told by her husband that Hollywood obviously don’t miss her when she is not there, that was a line which really stuck with me to highlight his truly abusive nature towards her. I mean what did he even know anyway she went on to win an Academy Award!

I just felt the film was utterly boring and slow, even the death of the daughter was not really highlighted in away to make you feel something more for the pair. Obviously that event is deeply sad and horrendous, but nothing within the film makes it feel worse than already seeing people try to accept that. That probably doesn’t really make a massive amount of sense, I am meaning that we already know that is a tragedy but the reactions from the pair did not make it more of a tragedy.

The cast lead by Hugh Bonneville and Keeley Hawes and quite frankly the two stars are one each for them as they were both impressive enough, just other than that the film was utterly dull and did not really offer anything else fr me. One little fact about this film is that I have seen two of the actors on stage those being Conleth Hill in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Michael Jibson in Hamilton, something I was actually quite pleased about.

Sky are really trying with these original films to hit Sky Cinema and some back when actual cinemas were open had a cinematic release on the same day they were available on Sky. Nothing has been absolutely brilliant yet, but they are getting some fantastic casts put together and I am sure the quality is going to keep improving as they build that side. Unfortunately for me To Olivia was not the film to change that run.

2 thoughts on “To Olivia (2021) Review

  1. I’m not quite as down on this movie as you are, but I agree it didn’t hit many buttons with me. I thought Bonneville – who doesn’t get much of a chance to actually act – did a great job… his best role in years. Above all, if you look at the life story of Patricia Neal on wiki, she deserves a real proper biopic in the style of “Judy”…. or even a complete mini-series! Man, what a life of ups and (a lot of) downs! An affair with Gary Cooper, 25 years her senior; a love quadrilateral between her, Cooper, Kirk Douglas and Dahl; Cooper’s abuse and forcing her to abort Douglas’s baby; the son (Theo) nearly killed in his pram and Dahl inventing a brain draining device to save him; the Oscar win for “Hud”; the Olivia death; a near fatal stroke (her obituary was published!) from which she recovered. Some people have more interesting wiki pages than others!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, I did look into her life and the way she was cast off in this film as not really doing all that much and the Oscar win being quite a shock seemed to be far from that. One thing is for sure she didn’t really seem to have many men actually treating her very well that is for sure!


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