Military Wives Review

I’m a huge fan of horror films, I love them. My shelves are stacked with classic horrors like the Nightmare on Elm Street collection and Japanese bizarre gore films like Tokyo Gore Police.  I love the darkness, the imagination and yes, the blood.

So when Military Wives was offered to me, I jumped at the chance.

Sarcasm aside, who doesn’t love a good old fashioned British comedy? I remember when Four Weddings and a Funeral came crashing in with its floppy hair and posh swearing and if I’m honest, it’s fine.

That’s my level of appreciation for this genre, a huge slice of “fine”.

Military Wives is the new British comedy from Peter Cattaneo who directed one of the classic modern British comedies, The Full Monty, which is basically this film with men.

He also directed The Rocker… so let’s remember The Full Monty fondly.

The film is inspired by the true story of the first military wives’ choir formed in the UK in 2010 whilst the Afghan conflict was underway. I guess it’s “inspired by” and not “based on” because the majority of the plot is pure fantasy, but then I doubt the real story isn’t quite as poetic.

Kristen Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan play our respective, leading wifeys: Kate, a Colonel’s wife determined to uphold traditional British military values, and Lisa, the reluctant new leader of the military wives struggling with her rebellious teenage daughter.

Unsurprisingly their characters don’t see eye to eye, before bonding over something – and falling out again.

Cliches aside, Thomas and Horgan excel in their roles, with the latter showcasing her straight acting chops while still maintaining her natural comic timing.

But Thomas is the real star of the show, brilliantly masking her vulnerabilities and emotions behind a very British veil of stiff upper lip-ness and conveying hidden emotions behind a fake smile throughout.

Military Wives is a cliche-ridden escapade and if I’m honest I could have paused the film after 10 minutes and told you exactly what was going to happen to which characters and believe me, I’m the type of pretentious person who would be tempted to do this.

But this doesn’t detract from the film itself, which pulls at the heartstrings in all the right places despite you seeing it coming a long way away, it’s still played out perfectly. 

The light-hearted comic moments offer the viewer relief from what is at its core a difficult subject matter, and I often found myself chuckling along at times.

Turns out I’m not made of stone after all.

Military Wives is very good at doing exactly what it sets out to do. It made me laugh and cry at the right times, but also shines a light on a subject that we don’t often see; the soldier’s family left behind during the war, living with the ever present threat of death whilst attempting to carry on as normal.

Military Wives will please fans of British comedy and is one of the better ones to come out over recent years.

Still, it would have been nice to have had a bit of blood somewhere.

Andrew Campbell

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February 2020
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