Inspired by true events, Military Wives sees a group of women on the home front form a choir and quickly find themselves a supportive network of friends and in the limelight as they get the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, all the while dealing with the fact their partners are away serving in Afghanistan.
Kristin Scott Thomas’ Kate is the one who has the idea for the choir. She’s the Colonel’s wife and is desperate to keep busy. She becomes almost bossy and controlling as she wants everything about the choir to be professional. Meanwhile, Sharon Horgan’s Lisa is the more laidback of this unlikely duo of choir leaders. She wants the women to be able to have fun and to take their minds off what might be happening to their partners, if only for a short while.
Naturally, Kate and Lisa clash as they try and make their choir fit for performing in front of an audience leading to some funny and awkward moments. Military Wives isn’t a full out comedy though, it’s quieter and more sensitive due to the subject matter. But with its large cast, there are many moments where this choir comes together to cheer each other up or to listen when life being stuck at home, separated from a loved one and still having to carry on as normal, gets too much. It’s sweet and sentimental without ever being mawkish.
A large but solid supporting cast make up the choir, each have a chance (albeit sometimes a small one) to show the effects of having a loved one far from home, risking injury or even death. Some notable members of the choir are Jess (Gaby French) who struggles to make her confidence as big as her voice and newlywed Sarah (Amy James-Kelly aka Maddie from Coronation Street if like me you spent the nearly two-hour runtime going “Where do I recognise her from?!”) who tries to understand how the more experienced wives cope as her husband is on his first tour.
Military Wives is one of those quintessential feel-good, Sunday afternoon films. That’s in no way a bad thing. It means that there’ll be no major surprises but there will be some laughs and possibly a few tears as well. And what more can you want from a film really?
Directed by: Peter Cattaneo
Written by: Rosanne Flynn, Rachel Tunnard
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Jason Flemyng, Emma Lowndes, Greg Wise