On an English military base just outside of London, a group of military wives prepare for life without their partners, who are soon to serve in the war in Afghanistan. To help the wives to use their time productively, A-type classically-trained Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) takes it upon herself to ‘assist’ the free-spirited social group leader, Lisa (Sharon Horgan), in starting a singing group.
The movie is inspired by the true story of the Military Wives Choirs, a network of 75 choirs in British military bases across the UK and overseas, which featured in UK television series, The Choir.
Directed by Peter Cattaneo of The Full Monty fame, the movie follows suit: a group of underdogs take up a new pursuit, and overcome personal and external obstacles to perform on the day. Whereas The Full Monty had the welfare of our character’s lives at stake due to their dour economic situations, Military Wives looks at our characters’ emotional and mental health during their partners’ absence.
Without the choir, time on the base is spent doing nothing but socialising and drinking. While Kate’s husband uses the military to avoid having to deal with the death of their son, Kate needs the choir just as much as the rest of the wives, and must sway the more personable Lisa to accomplish it.
Verdict: A predictable, by-the-numbers, heart-warming outing. An enjoyable spotlight on a little-known slice of life. 3 stars. – Luke McWilliams
Note: Screenings of Military Wives ended on 18 March; the film will be re-released later in the year.