Military Wives (12A)Cast: Emma Lowndes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan
Author(s): Rosanne Flynn, Rachel Tunnard
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Release Date: 06/03/2020
Running Time: 113mins
When duty calls and British troops are deployed from Flitcroft military base to Afghanistan, Kate, wife of the colonel, takes charge of rallying the women. She steps on the toes of social secretary Lisa and friction between the two leaders threatens to undermine efforts to establish the base's first choir. Over time, Kate, Lisa and the other women discover perfect harmony and they are thrilled and terrified when top brass extend them an invitation to perform in London.
LondonNet Film Review
Military Wives (12A)
Lightning fails to strike twice for Peter Cattaneo, Oscar-nominated director of The Full Monty, with another heart-warming comedy drama of community spirit in the face of adversity. Inspired by true events, Military Wives celebrates the unshakeable sisterly solidarity of a motley crew of spouses who find friendship and emotional support by performing pop anthems and classical pieces together while their service people are away…
The original choir based at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire made headlines when the women appeared with Gareth Malone in the BBC Two series The Choir and claimed the 2011 Christmas number one with a moving original ballad, Wherever You Are. Screenwriters Rachel Tunnard and Rosanne Flynn handpick a few choice facts that comfortably serve their narrative – a climatic performance is still a song composed from extracts of letters between the wives and their partners. However, broadly sketched characters are fictional and short, sharp verses of cloying sentiment gradually build to a rousing crescendo that falls tantalisingly short of hitting the high notes Cattaneo has achieved before.
When duty calls and British troops are deployed from Flitcroft military base to Afghanistan, experienced colonel Richard (Greg Wise) bids farewell to his wife Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) to lead his fifth tour. The couple are still grieving the loss of their serviceman son and only child, so Richard’s absence weighs heavily on his wife. Kate fills the emotional void by robustly taking charge of the women who have been left behind. She insensitively steps on the toes of social secretary Lisa (Sharon Horgan), undermining tentative efforts to establish the base’s first choir.
Following the example of the Whoopi Goldberg film Sister Act, but “without the Mafia or the God bit”, the women sort themselves into voice types for a rendition of the Yazoo pop hit Only You. Senior base officer Crooks (Jason Flemyng) initially dons ear defenders to drown out the caterwauling, which Lisa likens to “the incantations of a bunch of witches”. Over time, the women unlock their potential, including insecure mother hen Jess (Gaby French) and Lisa’s daughter Frankie (India Ria Amarteifio). Consequently, top brass extends the choir an invitation to perform at the televised Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Military Wives is composed of familiar elements set to a feelgood soundtrack that includes Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper and the Sister Sledge dancefloor anthem We Are Family. Cattaneo demonstrates a light touch with the material, including converging storylines of loss and regret. Scott Thomas and Horgan are well matched as rivals locked in a bitter tug-of-war for control of the choir, who discover that life is so much simpler when you come together in sweet harmony.
– Kim Wu
UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Military Wives
From: Friday 7th August
To: Thursday 13th August
Sat 17:15; Thu 14:00
Fri 19:00; Sat 15:50; Sun 16:20; Tue 15:30
Fri/Wed 12:30; Thu 16:00
From: Friday 14th August
To: Thursday 20th August
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