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Military Wives

On Saturday evening I settled down without much initial anticipation to Military Wives, directed by Peter Carraneo, whose most successful movie to date was The Full Monty.

This film is of the same genre: a group of diverse, same sex, people decided to form a choir at an army barracks whilst their husbands are fighting in Afghanistan.

What swung it for me was a starring role for Kirsten Scott Thomas as Kate – the snobby, snotty colonel’s wife – which she played to perfection.

As she had the self-confidence and assumed appropriation of authority she decides she must lead the choir even though the earthier Lisa (Sharon Forgan), who runs the social club, is better suited. Kristen Scott Thomas, who grew up in a RAF barracks in Cornwall, totally gets that life style.

She is unquestionably one of our leading actress of both theatre and films

Initially the two do not get along as they compete for ownership of the choir and it is played hilariously as comedy, but the way Kate soften her hard carapace is an acting thing of wonder.

Her vulnerability, caused by the loss of her Army son Dave, is nuanced by showing that she always had a glass of wine in hand and is susceptible to the consumer rubbish of TV shopping channels.

After a huge row with Lisa as she boards the bus that is taking the choir to the Albert Hall Kate storms out andher husband forces her to drive in the car of their deceased army son so that she could rejoin the choir.

It reminded me of In the Heat of the Night in which Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) said to Rod Steiger “Call me Mr Tibbs …” but it is Steiger that softens, not Poitier.

In the same way the final scene, when Kate belts out the numbers alongside Lisa and is totally accepted, respected and embraced by the rest of the choir, reduced me to tears.

I would not call it a great movie as – based upon a true story – it lacks fantasy and is rather in the mould of The Full Monty, but I am so pleased I watched it.

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About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts