Skip to main content
film review
Open this photo in gallery:

In Military Wives, a group of women whose partners are away serving in Afghanistan form a choir, and quickly find themselves at the center of a media sensation and global movement.Courtesy of LevelFilm

  • Military Wives
  • Directed by Peter Cattaneo
  • Written by Rosanne Flynn and Rachel Tunnard
  • Starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan and Jason Flemyng
  • Classification PG; 112 minutes


2 out of 4 stars

There is a wide gulf between giving audiences what they want and what they need. The new film Military Wives opts for the former, so much so that screenwriters Rosanne Flynn and Rachel Tunnard must have started their script with the word “crowd-pleaser” and worked their way up from there, although not by much.

In this tale of strong, working-class Brits becoming stronger together, Military Wives aims for all the expected keep-calm-and-carry-on notes of the British cinematic genre I’m going to christen Can-Do Comedy. It’s the type of film that was birthed with 1997′s The Full Monty, which shares a director with Military Wives in Peter Cattaneo – as well as a flat, incurious sensibility that lacks any hint of complexity in the layers of its world or the inner lives of its characters.

Open this photo in gallery:

Directed by Peter Cattaneo, the film lacks any hint of complexity in the layers of its world or the inner lives of its characters.Courtesy of LevelFilm

Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan, two performers who deserve far more than they’re afforded here, star as the opposite philosophical ends of a British military base. Both have husbands serving overseas in Afghanistan, both have some family issues they’re repressing and both have differing approaches as to how the corp’s lonely spouses should pass the time. I’ll leave it to you to guess who might be the prim and proper authoritarian, and who might be the raucous rogue. Just as I won’t ask you to venture into how the women’s group, which eventually settles on forming a choir, fare once they’re asked to perform in London.

There is so little surprise here, and so little effort into at least maintaining the façade of invention, that you might as just well sit down and write the narrative beats yourself. For Queen and country, then.

Military Wives is available digitally on-demand starting May 22

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

Check Following for new articles

Interact with The Globe