Tom & Viv recounts the volatile marriage of poet T.S. Eliot and the British aristocrat Vivienne Haigh-Wood. Their relationship is marked by what is ultimately a misdiagnosis of Vivienne as clinically insane. With Willem Dafoe cast as Eliot and Miranda Richardson portraying Vivienne (in a performance that earned her a 1994 Oscar nomination), the film revolves not so much around its plot as it does the constant, highly-emoted turns taken among its characters.
While their marriage seems a series of erratic, embarrassing outbursts on Vivienne's part--none exceeding the day she follows Eliot to work and pours molten chocolate into his mailbox--she ultimately becomes a sympathetic character. Though it might have appeared to Eliot and her family that her behavior was due to her desire to stake some claim on her husband's poetic success, it is discovered long after she is committed to an asylum, that she is, in fact, not crazy, but that a hormonal imbalance is responsible for her instability.