Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Jason Flemyng
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Running Time: 112 mins
Military Wives is a British film about a group of women who, while their partners are on tour in Afghanistan, grapple with the struggles of being left in the unknown, and set up a choir to help them deal with their situation.
For what looks on the outside like a fairly fluffy feel-good movie, Military Wives is a real surprise. On the one hand, it does have a nice bit of inspiring, heartwarming drama (and a delightful soundtrack too), but on the other, it impresses with genuinely engrossing and often affecting emotional drama.
Not holding back in its portrayal of the real situation and feelings of women who are left behind when their partners go off to fight in wars around the world, Military Wives finds a fantastic balance between happy and heartwarming drama and real, honest emotional depth.
From the start, the film opens up a captivating perspective on the untold stories of the people left behind at home when soldiers go off to war. War movies will often finish with a heartfelt reunion after a soldier has been through hell, but Military Wives brilliantly showcases the other side of that relationship.
From that point on, the story finds an engrossing balance between portraying the wives’ plight and their attempts to find a way to put their energy into something to take their minds off their partners and the danger they’re in.
With Kristin Scott Thomas in what seems like an uncharacteristically unchallenging role and Sharon Horgan alongside, the film has great energy and charisma throughout, but the performances equally showcase the more serious side of their situation, often changing on a dime as reality hits home.
What’s more is the way that the film builds in dramatic depth as it goes along, gradually changing from a Finding Your Feet-esque feel-good extravaganza to a strikingly intimate drama, finishing off with a riveting final act that blends gorgeous and soaring emotion with surprisingly hard-hitting depth.
And finally, the film’s soundtrack is the icing on the cake. In tandem with its message about letting your feelings out and finding a voice, the songs are a delight to listen and sing along to, with a perfect combination of upbeat tempo and moving emotion to fit the film’s overall atmosphere.
Overall, I was really impressed by Military Wives. A captivating watch throughout, it goes beyond what at first looks like a rather simplistic feel-good film to deliver genuine and engrossing drama throughout.
Bolstered by strong performances and a great soundtrack, it’s a wonderful blend of inspiring and heartfelt drama and powerful, moving emotion throughout. And that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.