During a time of shifts in public opinion and social values, it can be difficult to maintain the status quo, especially among those who are helping to drive those forces of change. So it was in 1914 England with Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a headstrong, self-assured, independent thinker with aspirations far different from those of most women at the time. Rather than be relegated to a life of conventional marriage and homemaking, for example, Vera fought for the right to apply to Oxford to earn her college degree and become a writer, much to the consternation of her parents (Dominic West, Emily Watson). What’s more, despite the subtle matchmaking attempts of Vera’s brother, Edward (Taron Egerton), to fix her up with his friend Victor (Colin Morgan), the idealistic young nonconformist resisted these efforts, insisting that she preferred to live her life without a husband. Clearly, Vera was a force to be reckoned with.