Few administrators are higher suited to materials like “Military Wives” than Peter Cattaneo
The man who gave us “The Full Monty” could make us chortle, assume and clutch a Kleenex earlier than the top credit.
He’s solely partially profitable with “Military Wives,” a movie sorely missing a humorous bone. The story, “impressed” by precise occasions, isn’t a knee slapper on paper. Cattaneo’s light-hearted contact lends itself to light guffaws however darned if a lot as a snicker exhibits up.
Kristin Scott Thomas stars as Kate, a British spouse and mom who misplaced her son to the struggle effort, Now, her enlisted hubbie Richard (Greg Wise) is returning to Afghanistan, leaving her to information the navy wives’ choral group. The choir is technically within the palms of Lisa (Sharon Horgan, “Catastrophe”), however Kate has a approach of sticking her nostril the place it’s neither welcome nor belongs.
Still, that entire stiff higher lip routine holds true, not less than for some time, with this British ensemble.
The conflict between the ladies couldn’t be extra clear. Kate is a stuffed shirt right down to her upright collars, wanting to lean on traditional musical alternatives. Lisa, juggling a surly teen on the house entrance, leans towards pop ditties like “Shout” by Tears for Fears.
FAST FACT: Kristin Scott Thomas declared she was finished appearing in movies again in 2014. The Oscar nominee made the same vow within the 1990s, however regardless of taking 2015-2016 off she continues to work steadily.
So far, so uninvolving. Only when tragedy strikes the tight-knit choir does “Military Wives” discover its voice. That takes an excellent, lengthy whereas.
“Military Wives” is a part of a small, overdue popular culture development. Films and TV exhibits like “Wives,” “Thank You for Your Service” and CBS’s “Seal Team” acknowledge the sacrifices households make when their family members go abroad.
Here, Cattaneo’s contact is restrained and respectful, the perfect mixture. It helps to have a professional like Scott on the core of this story. Watch the actress’ face sag when requested to counsel a navy spouse who simply misplaced her husband. It’s solely a second or two lengthy response, nevertheless it’s perfection.
RELATED: Is Hollywood Warming Up to the U.S. Military?
Otherwise, the story follows a sequence of predictable arcs. The choir members are uniformly recreation however nobody stands tall among the many group. Kate’s relationship with Richard may use some burnishing, though that may push the film previous the two-hour mark.
“Military Wives” nails the smaller particulars of those households’ lives, from bonding over frivolous issues to the blended feelings when its time to say goodbye for what may very well be an prolonged interval.
That’s assuming everybody comes again dwelling safely.
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The movie shrewdly avoids any political statements tied to both the navy or the Afghanistan struggle. One transient scene finds anti-war protesters approaching the titular “Wives.” Kate gently tells them they haven’t any selection within the matter.
Both sides appear content material with that response. Only within the films, eh?
In between we get sequences we’ve seen earlier than, even when they’re given a compassionate sheen right here. Take one spouse’s frustration when her Skype name to her husband stalls as a result of a technical hiccup.
It’s exhausting to grumble far more about “Military Wives,” a movie with a giant, lovely coronary heart in precisely the suitable place. The execution stays uneven, determined for some laughs to assist course of the ache.
HiT or Miss: “Military Wives” presents a sobering take a look at war-time sacrifices, however the story runs head first right into a formulaic wall.
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