Military Wives (4 stars)

Military Wives

Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan tug at the heartstrings in Peter Cattaneo's triumphant comedy drama

It has taken more than two decades but director Peter Cattaneo has finally found a worthy companion piece to his beloved The Full Monty. Once again, a disparate group find that common humanity helps them bond and endure through the worst of times. It's singing rather than stripping that propels the narrative in Military Wives and, if it strikes some familiar notes, there is no denying its skill at winning hearts and minds.

Inspired by the true story of the chart-topping charity choir, Military Wives is based around a clash of personalities between two very different women. When troops go marching off to Afghanistan, colonel's wife Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) believes it is her mission to boost morale. She wants the wives and partners left behind to keep busy and stay resolute. The recent loss of a son leaves her particularly lonely.

Scott Thomas is very much cast to type as a bossy ice queen always convinced that she knows best. However, the vulnerability she brings to the role makes Kate more than a one-dimensional foil to the snarky, exasperated Lisa (Sharon Horgan), who takes a more laidback approach to her position as chair of the social committee. Who needs rules and projects when you can just have a good natter and get steaming drunk? Forming a choir is what starts to build a sense of solidarity between the two women. An invitation to perform at the annual Festival of Remembrance becomes their greatest challenge.

Not shy when it comes to tugging at the heartstrings, Cattaneo never loses sight of the fact that this is a situation in which lives are lost, sacrifices are made and hearts are broken. A little extra grit in the mix, and the excellent ensemble, ensures that Military Wives earns its tears.

General release from Fri 6 Mar.

Military Wives

  • 4 stars
  • 2019
  • UK
  • 1h 50min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Peter Cattaneo
  • Cast: Teresa Mahoney, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan

Kate (Scott Thomas) is a colonel’s wife who, when troops go to Afghanistan, teams up with Lisa (Horgan) to form a choir. Inspired by a true story, it tugs unashamedly at the heartstrings and an excellent ensemble plus a little grit ensure that it properly earns its tears.