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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Military Wives (M) - 112 minutes

Imagine you are the wife or partner or child of a member of the military who is sent off to war.

How would you feel in the lead up to and during the period your loved one is in battle?

Clearly you would be thinking about whether or not he or she would return safely and in one piece.

Military Wives is inspired by the true story of a group of women who have been left behind in just the circumstance I have described.

In their case, their husbands were in Afghanistan.

The wives of the two officers, Kate (Kristin Scott-Thomas) and Lisa (Sharon Horgan), are in a power struggle.

They take a totally different approach – Lisa is populist and impromptu, Kate highbrow and proper.

What they have in common though is a desire to keep the other women busy, distracted and engaged.

To that end, they form a singing group, although – again – they have different ideas of what that means and what they are looking for.

It becomes the first UK military wives’ choir.

From a very shaky start, the songstresses make their presence felt, notwithstanding the fact that the ladies continue to think of their nearest and dearest in battle.

While Kate doesn’t let down her guard and keeps a stiff upper lip, she is still coming to terms with the death of her son.

Lisa, on the other hand, struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, Frankie (India Ria Amarteifio), who is close to her dad and rebels.

Military Wives is too staged managed (or manipulated) to have a full ring of truth to it, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t have impact. I shed tears.

It lurches from dramatic to comedic and sentimental, although it certainly doesn’t dwell on loss.

The two leads are well cast and play convincing adversaries, even if I didn’t really buy their meeting of minds when that happened.

Around them is a colourful troupe of secondary players.

Military Wives could quite easily have been a far more harrowing tale.

Instead, it is pitched as feel good entertainment that many will appreciate.

Not surprising then when you learn it is directed by Peter Cattaneo, who was at the helm of The Full Monty.

Rated M, Military Wives scores a 6½ out of 10.


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