The two leads hit almost all the high notes.
It still remains a mystery to me why “Joyful Noise” had to be one of the worst movies I’ve seen in the past decade, despite its leading ladies Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. I don’t know. Maybe because these actresses with wasted, the jokes were pathetic, and Latifah had to be the bossy mom to Keke Palmer. That’s probably why. I never want to see that piece of crap again.
The only reason I brought it back up again is because I’ve come across “Military Wives,” a routine, but good-natured comedy with professional leads by Kristen Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan. Unlike Latifah and Parton, they don’t waste their time bickering; they collaborate as friends and women. I mean they do have an argument later in the film, but they have their reasons. And note, the word “woman” has a powerful meaning to the gender.
It’s nice to see British imports finding their way into the domestic schedule, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. And it’s also refreshing when “Military Wives” features women fending for themselves, while their husbands are on a military tour in Afghanistan. Actually, they form a choir group, singing classic pop hits like “Don’t You Want Me Baby,” “Shout,” and “Time After Time.”
The conductor of the choir would be Kate (Thomas), the wife of the lieutenant (Greg Wise), who lost her son Jamie on a world tour. She recruits a cynical parent named Lisa (Horgan) to join her choir or “singing club” as she would like to call it.
Other members also include Jess (Gaby French), who has a beautiful voice and a case of stage fright, and Sarah (Amy James-Kelly), who worries about her love’s safety. And Lisa has an estranged daughter (India Ria Amarteifio), who goes out to drink or whatever it is she does. They’re all seem obligatory, as most choir comedies of its kind require them, but they mean well with their acting.
They become so talented, that they’ve been invited to sing on the Festival of Remembrance TV event. So let’s call them “The Only Military Wives Choir of England,” shall we? Well, this was based on the first Military Wives Choir that inspired a BBC series and lead many more women to have these choirs.
Director Petter Cattaneo (“The Full Monty”) and writers Rachel Tunnard and Rosanne Flynn all conduct Thomas and Horgan on the right path, which allows them to express themselves and ease into their characters. Kate still mourns for her deceased son, while Lisa tries to be a better mother than she was. They’re the one who really win you over, and you support them every step of the way.
“Military Wives” shows us things we’ve seen before, and we’ll continue seeing like stage frights, parenting, love, and loss. But at the same time, the movie has its heart in the right place. If you want another positive movie during this crisis, especially since its set in another country, then give this movie a go.
On AppleTV, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Community Cinema
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