Monday 9 March 2020

The Current Cinema - MILITARY WIVES (Peter Cattaneo, UK, 2019)

Military Wives  slightly rattled me. I got an invitation to a preview and accepted. That’s what I do if it’s a preview in the morning  at a venue like the Sony Theatrette in Market St or at the luxurious Palace Central on Broadway. 

So Military Wives. I confess I thought this was going to be an American movie, all goodwill, propaganda  and flag waving. An impression no doubt assisted by not reading a word from the PR stuff supplied in advance, not noticing that Kristin Scott-Thomas was the lead and further not thinking too much as to why an indie company like Transmission would be offering us yankee propaganda.

Turns out they were not.

Military Wives has a basis in some historical circumstances, the creation of female choirs made up of the wives, partners and children of Brit servicemen sent to Afghanistan to kill Afghanis and otherwise keep the peace over the course of the last twenty years in revenge for September 11, 2001.

So, the creation of the choirs and the morale boost they represented to the Brit forces, and to Brit politics, has been given over to Peter Cattaneo, he of The Full Monty who doesn’t bother to tamper with the well-established formula of class and personal conflict all being resolved in bonhomie and goodwill and general feel good. Which is why of course it has you weeping at various moments, most especially during the final concert when suddenly they can sing beautifully.

It’s a Brit trope. Collective action and solidarity  always triumphs over indifference, always upflifts the human heart. The Full Monty came out around the same time as Brassed Off  another one along the same lines. But you can go way back over decades and my favourite is Passport to Pimlico though Whisky Galore  and Local Hero  are also right up there.

Not sure Military Wives  is anywhere near those but as I said Cattaneo can get to you.

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