Military Wives Review – An Inspirational, Uplifting, Feel Good Film

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Military Wives, from Bleeker Street Media, presents the true story of the first British military wives' choir, the unexpected invitation to perform at the Remembrance Day ceremony, their struggles, challenges, life and heartbreak of a military spouse.

Directed by Peter Cattaneo, Military Wives stars, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Emma Lowndes, Greg Wise, Jason Flemyng, Emma Lowndes, Gaby French, Lara Rossi, Amy James Kelly, India Amarteifio, Laura Checkley, and Laura Elphinstone.

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The film opens with a radio announcer setting the scene, the war in Afghanistan is raging and the British military has suffered more casualties to date than throughout the entire tour in Iraq.

It is the night before the spouses ship out for a five month tour of Afghanistan and we meet the various wives, including Kate, played by Kristen Scott Thomas, Lisa, played by Sharon Horgan, Jess, played by Gaby French, Annie, played by Emma Lowndes, Ruby, played by Lara Rossi, and Helen, played by Laura Elphinstone, as they ready themselves and their children the deployment.

While the spouses are away, the military command has a designate spouse who will form groups and clubs to help the women keep their minds off the possibilities that at any moment their spouses could be killed.

This tour Lisa, the Sargent Majors wife, is the designate. Kate, the Colonel's wife, decides to offer her support more to help cope with the loss of her son who died in combat. They decide at the weekly coffee, to ask the group for suggestions on ideas.

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At this first meeting newcomer Sarah, played by Amy James-Kelly, suggests a singing club. Soon, after failed attempts at the other ideas, they decide to give it a go. With two designated leaders, Kate and Lisa, each with a different style of leadership, bicker openly, each trying to one-up the other as they continue to work on building the Choir and turning it into something more than "sober karaoke."

Kate the more refined, classically taught, instructor prefers hymns and traditional musical choices, and Lisa, unable to read sheet music, plays notes and works it out through memorization. The women, most with no formal training respond to this method and slowly as they progress warm up to learning more.

While they are still struggling for a unified sound, they take a hike to the moors, and wind up under a tunnel to get out of the rain. The echo creates a chamber and the women begin to sing, without music, leadership, simply singing from memory.

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It was at this time the Captain, played by Jason Fleming, who informed the base commander of what the women were doing, was sent an invitation for the women to perform at the Remembrance Day Celebration at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

After the day at the moors and the invitation, they decide to sing locally, a first performance. Unaccustomed to practicing or singing in public or anywhere where there is active noise, the performance was disappointing for all.

Throughout these times, the women are receiving messages that "comm's are down" which means there is no communication coming from their spouses. Finally, the message comes that no wife wants to hear.

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I really enjoyed Military Wives, it is a heartfelt, uplifting, inspiring film. Well told, the story balances the issues at hand with the individual coping mechanisms of the women.

The ensemble performed well together. The script called biting sarcasm and stinging hurtful verbal exchanges between the two leads. They landed these jabs with force and precision. As it is a film about a choir that stumbles toward perfection those moments also came across very well.

Military Wives, a fun, feel good film, premieres on Amazon Prime May 22, 2020.

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