Virginia (2010 film)

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What's Wrong With Virginia poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dustin Lance Black
Produced by Scott J. Brooks
Hopwood DePree
Christine Vachon
Written by Dustin Lance Black
Starring Jennifer Connelly
Ed Harris
Emma Roberts
Carrie Preston
Toby Jones
Music by Nick Urata
Cinematography Eric Alan Edwards
Edited by John David Allen
Beatrice Sisul
TicTock Studios
Killer Films
Distributed by Entertainment One
Release date
  • September 15, 2010 (2010-09-15) (Toronto)
  • May 18, 2012 (2012-05-18)
Running time
116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $12,728

Virginia (originally titled What's Wrong With Virginia) is a 2010 film written and directed by Dustin Lance Black, and starring Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Emma Roberts, Carrie Preston, and Toby Jones.


In a small town, mentally unstable Virginia has a two-decade affair with a local married sheriff, Dick Tipton. Her son Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson) acts as her protector.[1] During Emmett's quest for the truth of his father's identity, he begins a relationship with Tipton's daughter Jessie.[2]



The film was shot in West Michigan (Holland, Grand Haven, South Haven, Saugatuck, Zeeland) during fall of 2009 in seven weeks on local streets, homes, and businesses. The project was filmed in Michigan, the decision having been taken to film there due to a state program offering incentives to the entertainment industry.[3] To create Virginia's style, Dustin Lance Black requested Jennifer Connelly's advice to design the set of the character's house, as well as the selection of wardrobe she uses through the film.[4]

Throughout filming and for its premiere at the TIFF, the film was titled What's Wrong With Virginia. Black re-cut the film following its poor initial reception, and it was subsequently re-titled Virginia for theatrical release.[5] IndieWire quoted Black as saying that the film "was pretty bad. So I opened up the edit and got a new editor and went back to script and finishing that film."[6]


The film was first shown on September 15, 2010 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).[7]

On January 17, 2012, Variety announced that Entertainment One have acquired North American distribution rights to Virginia.[8] The film premièred in U.S theaters on May 18, 2012.[9]


Virginia received negative reviews following its premier at TIFF. While noting that the film was "propped up by a strong central performance" from Jennifer Connelly, Katey Rich of Cinema Blend reported that it was "all over the place in every imaginable way."[10] The Hollywood Reporter felt that "the film is tonally all over the place, eventually settling in a rut that comes a lot closer to resembling bad camp than edgy satire."[11] 'Screen International similarly found the film tonally confused, writing that "the screenplay becomes as busy and overloaded as a packed roller-coaster, testing the viewer’s patience along the way and offering little in the way of a payoff."[12]

Several of the reviewers who saw the film at TIFF singled out Connelly's acting for praise. Rich wrote that "Connelly has rarely looked more fragile or dangerous; like Virginia she's adrift in a world that doesn't quite appreciate her, and just as you root for Virginia to pull it together and leave town, you root for Connelly to track down a better movie."[10] Chase Whale of Gordon and the Whale wrote that "Jennifer Connelly is normally the bombshell and that's still here, but her comedic elements come into full fruition which loses a little bit of the sex appeal and adds more of the "this girl got herself acting chops" appeal."[13]


  1. ^ Cieply, Michael (2010-09-10). "In Vastness of Toronto, Small Films Take Root". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  2. ^ Stevens, Michael (2010-09-24). "Jennifer Connelly Asks "What's Wrong with Virginia"". SneakPeek News. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  3. ^ "What's Wrong with Virginia to premiere at Toronto Film Festival". 2010-08-17. Archived from the original on 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  4. ^ Connelly, Jennifer (October 4, 2010). DP/30 – What’s Wrong With Virginia, actress Jennifer Connelly (Interview). Interviewed by Poland, David. Toronto: Movie City News. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Hartmann, Margaret (April 23, 2012). "Troubled Jennifer Connelly Drama Re-Cut as a Comedy"., LLC. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  6. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin. "Watch: Trailer For Dustin Lance Black's Re-Edited 'Virginia' (aka 'What's Wrong With Virginia')". Indie Wire. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  7. ^ "What's Wrong with Virginia premiere". Toronto Sun. 2010-09-16. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  8. ^ Abrams, Rachel. "'Virginia' finds home with Entertainment One". Variety. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Virginia". iTunes Movie Trailers. apple. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  10. ^ a b Rich, Katey (12 September 2010). "TIFF Review: What's Wrong With Virginia Is A Messy Pastiche". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  11. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (14 October 2010). "What's Wrong With Virginia -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  12. ^ Feinstein, Howard (13 September 2010). "What's Wrong With Virginia". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  13. ^ Whale, Chase (16 September 2010). "TIFF 2010 Review: WHAT'S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA". Gordon and the Whale. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.

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