Military Wives: Finally a Film That Gets Female Friendships Just Right

 

In time for International Women’s Day 2020, Embankment Films have released Military Wives: a true tale of the strength and courage in female friendship.

The marvellous Kristen Scott Thomas stars as Kate, a colonel’s wife during the recent Afghanistan war and deployment of British troops. The story is a true one; the story of the first choir formed of ‘military wives’, a moving notion that inspired hundreds of women around the country.

The narrative of ‘Girl Power’ is getting boring, seeing the same slogans reused and recycled every year. The idea that women should always put their differences aside and stand together just because they’re women is a sort of patronising thought. This picture tackles this, showing a group of very diverse women forced to come together to do good in their community. It depicts their struggles honestly, but sensitively, and ultimately shows the strength that lies in understanding every woman to be different, and with her own coping mechanisms. We don’t all have to cope the same.

The writing and acting isn’t perfect, but it’s warm and comes from a place of heart. The jokes are sometimes cheap and cliché, but the film’s a weeper, so any comedic moments are very much appreciated. Sharon Horgan also stars as the antonym to Scott Thomas’ type of ‘military wife’. She’s less serious; both the women learn to work with each other and help each other cope with their losses and healing.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but the film is based on a story the nation knows and loves very well. The final scene, where the choir perform their self-written hit in the Albert Hall is incredibly moving- the standout scene of the film. In the face of every actress you can track how much this moment means to their characters: the very real women at the heart of the film. 

You’re bound to tear up at most moments. It deals with grief, parenthood and the turmoil women face: constantly not feeling up to the standard society holds them to. The community, and country expected a lot from these women, perhaps too much. They tackle the hurdles though, but on their own terms, with their own way of coping. They’re in a predicament not many understand, and at first their choir isn’t really understood, but it’s a beautiful moment when it all comes together. There’s a shift; the strength the women find in each other changes them from wives of the military into a military of wives. 

Female relationships are shown how they truly are: difficult, pressurised but incredibly pivotal to positive change in society. It proves their unique demographic to be so much more than their husband’s deployment. So many of the women’s stories are touched on: these nuances make every character raw and relatable. You learn to watch past any cheesiness as the heart of the story overpowers flaws in the script. If you get a chance, I really recommend this film. With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’d make the perfect afternoon out with a women you love. Don’t forget your tissues…