Military Wives Parent Guide
This ticks all the boxes in the Inspiring Film category but it does so with such charm that it's a pleasure to watch.
Parent Movie Review
British troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for a decade, and the soldiers from Flitcroft Garrison are being deployed yet again. General Barclay’s wife Kate (played with a very stiff upper lip by Kristin Scott Thomas) is desperate for something to keep her mind off the war: not only is she worried about her husband, but she is mourning the son who died on a past mission.
Kate decides to direct her energies into helping the women on the base, whether they want it or not. The Regimental Sergeant Major’s wife, Lisa Lawson (Sharon Horgan) is new at her role and hasn’t given much thought to spouses’ activities, beyond alcohol-soaked parties. Kate, however, is a planner, and thanks to her place atop the base’s social hierarchy, she is soon working side by side with Lisa. The wives assemble for a brainstorming session and eventually decide to form a choir (in Kate’s words) or a singing club (as per Lisa).
The difference in terminology underlines the conflict between the women. Kate wants a disciplined, trained choir singing a traditional repertoire. Lisa, who can’t read music but plays by ear, envisions a social group that sings popular music for fun (sniffily described by Kate as “sober karaoke”). How the two women work out their differences and develop a choir that goes on to gain national attention is the story of this appealing little film.
Military Wives ticks all the boxes in the Inspiring Film category – but it does so with such charm that it’s a pleasure to watch. Within its time constraints, the movie makes a real effort to develop the characters. Kate is pushy, patronizing, and sometimes clueless, but she’s also kind, well-intentioned and wounded. Lisa struggles with a rebellious teenage daughter and a new role she does not want but develops confidence as she leads the women’s choir. Even the secondary characters are given some time to shine, with a shy Welsh singer taking a solo part and a newly bereaved woman providing encouragement to the others. Anyone who has ever participated in an amateur choir will chuckle at the perverse irony that sees a gifted vocalist singing quietly and the worst singer belting out every song.
Unfortunately, Military Wives does contain some negative content, particularly frequent scenes of alcohol consumption on the part of all of the characters. The women get drunk in groups and drink heavily alone to numb their fear and stress. A teenager is also shown heavily intoxicated. Profanity is another problem, with four sexual expletives, which is an unusually high count for a PG-13 film. However, sexual content is restricted to innuendo and brief conversation and violence is limited to mentions of the war.
Cursing and boozing aside, Military Wives manages to deliver an uplifting viewing experience with a strong tribute to the courage and resilience of women. Best of all, it does so without indulging in treacly sentimentality or manipulative patriotic clichés. In the best British tradition, these women adhere to that most famous wartime adage “Keep Calm and Carry on” – or (more earthily) to the famous words of Winston Churchill, “Keep buggering on.” The fact that this movie is based on real events makes it even more refreshing and, dare I say, gives it perfect pitch.Directed by Peter Cattaneo. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan. Running time: 112 minutes. Theatrical release May 22, 2020. Updated May 29, 2020
Watch the trailer for Military Wives
Rating & Content Info
Why is Military Wives rated PG-13? Military Wives is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some strong language and sexual references
Violence: There is mention of a bombing. A woman learns that her husband has died in combat.
Sexual Content: Stuffed toys are briefly shown in a sexual position. A lesbian couple is featured in the movie. A woman mentions strippers. A woman mentions nipples chafing. Slang terms are used for male and female anatomy (“pubes” and “family jewels”). Married couples kiss. Characters dance in a sexually suggestive manner. There is a brief discussion of a sexual activity we can’t describe on a family website and a slang term is used for it. A woman develops a rash on her backside.
Profanity: There are approximately twenty profanities in the film with other crude terms besides. There are four sexual expletives, 12 scatological curses, and three terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: All characters are shown drinking frequently. They drink in social situations and to manage stress. They are shown intoxicated. A teenager is shown very drunk. Someone is briefly seen smoking.
Page last updated May 29, 2020
Military Wives Parents' Guide
You can learn more about the real military wives choirs at their home page here: Military Wives Choirs
You can watch the 2011 Festival of Remembrance performance on YouTube here:
General Barclay tells Kate he thinks she should be paid for everything she does on the base. Do you or anyone else you know provide free services due to a partner’s career path? Do you think they should be paid for it?
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