Military Wives – Film Review

Military Wives – Film Review

Director: Peter Cattaneo
Writers: Rosanne Flynn (Writer), Rachel Tunnard
Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Jason Flemyng
Kirsten Scott Thomas is Kate, wife of the colonel of the regiment and she is centre stage. She is superior, apparently self-confident and bossy but with a strong sense of duty to the regiment as the wife of the colonel. The regiment is about to leave on a tour of duty in Afghanistan with all the latent fear that entails. Her own son has already been killed in the war. In order to keep the spirits of the wives and partners buoyant when their men are away, Kate decides that some communal activity should be undertaken. She enlists the support of Lisa (Sharon Horgan) whose husband has recently been promoted to sergeant-major. The first attempts at a brainstorming session with the women, despite Kate’s enthusiasm, does not succeed. However, it creates some excruciating but funny moments. Eventually, the idea of a choir is struck upon and that is what the film is about as the choir scales the dizzy heights of being asked to perform at the Royal Albert Hall for the annual remembrance day concert. The film is in fact inspired by a true story so that helps in the credibility stakes.

Peter Cattaneo in 1997 directed the “Full Monty”, where redundant miners found a new role for themselves as strippers. Here his skill is to have Scott Thomas playing opposite Horgan. The worlds they represent have little in common but Horgan’s ability to make the most ordinary comment resonate with humour stands in contrast to Scott Thomas’s earnestness as she tries as a matter of duty to fit in with the expectations of the soldiers’ partners. It is a brilliant pairing and it holds the film together. But Kate has her own problems and she finds solace, when alone, in making idiotic purchases on the shopping channel. This hidden weakness brings her a great deal closer to the women she is trying uncertainly to lead.

Cattaneo knows how to pull the heartstrings and he does so here. As a film about war, it stands in stark contrast to the likes of 1917. It is all about those lives which are dominated by the war even though they are thousands of miles away from the battle. They live each day in fear that there will be a knock on their door with news from the battle; a knock which none of them wants to hear. The communal choir helps the women forget this reality.

This is a feel-good movie. It tugs at the heartstrings, but Scott Thomas and Horgan keep it from becoming too sentimental. They make a great pairing.

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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