Review: Military Wives

I will be honest, and I don’t mean this to be offensive to any film that is based on a true story, but I generally, and admittedly cynically, run a mile from anything that has a whiff of ‘feel-good’.

But I’ll happily admit upfront that this film actually made me feel good. Very good.

Starring the wonderful Sharon Horgan alongside the equally wonderful Kristin Scott Thomas, Military Wives tells the true story of the world’s first military wives choir, directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Peter Cattaneo.

Looking for social activities designed to bond and distract, the women abandon their first venture, a half-hearted but boozy knitting circle eventually in favour of a choir.

A wonderfully inspiring watch, with the perfect balance of witty one-liners which sit sensitively alongside a lesson on the personal war being fought and endured on the wives and spouses left behind.

Whilst it would have been very easy to tug hard (and, actually, condescendingly to those who are actually living these lives) on the heartstrings, the film doesn’t bash you over the head with saccharine, or ‘here comes the sad, pity the wives bit’ moments.

Whilst, indeed, the narrative was devastating at times, the scenes were played out with both subtlety and sensitivity.

And the film is very funny to boot!

The partnership of Horgan and Scott Thomas works well; two opposites finding common ground but believably so. No sudden changes of personalities, rather a slow shifting of attitudes and an ever building appreciation of where each is coming from and just how common their goal is.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s one particular savage scene between the two women which will have you sinking into your cinema seat or sofa, the tension and awkward aftermath grabbing you round the throat like nobody’s business.

But those rousing scenes of the women taking to the glorious stage of the Royal Albert Hall in London will have even the most hardened film-goer and human being develop a lump to the throat and a glistening of the eye.

And if that doesn’t get you, the montage at the end will…

Military Wives is now on general release.

Full cast and credits can be found here at IMDB.

Pics credit: Lionsgate UK.