Military Wives

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Military Wives Movie Poster Image
Charming dramedy has strong female leads, positive themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 112 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include friendship, teamwork, courage, perseverance, and chasing your dreams, even in the face of adversity. Highlights the role and importance of women, to both their families and community, while their partners are away at war.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Women take center stage. Kate and Lisa are not just striving to take part in an activity to keep busy, it's to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other women to keep focused and upbeat during a time of duress. Some of the women are terrified at the prospect of performing live, and this film celebrates the concept of overcoming your fears.

Violence

No violence is actually seen. However, given the themes of warfare and death, it is alluded to frequently.

Sex

Mild references and innuendos referring to the sexual activity between the wives and their husbands when they get home from their tours.

Language

Infrequent strong language, such as the word "f--k." Some arguing that although doesn't involve profanity, does involve hurtful expressions.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink wine. References to heavy drinking. Characters find solace in drinking after receiving bad news. A teen returns home drunk one evening -- she feels sick and is regretful.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Military Wives is a British dramedy inspired by a true story about a group of women with spouses serving in Afghanistan who set up a choir to distract themselves from the stress of reality. It has strong female characters and positive themes about friendship, teamwork, and camaraderie. And the main characters' determination to become successful as a community choir shows a sense of self-fulfillment. But there's also a sense of peril, and the theme of death is prominent throughout -- each spouse can't help anticipating that dreaded knock on the door to inform them of their partner's passing. The characters discuss violence and sex, though the references are mild. Language isn't frequent but can be strong, including use of "f--k." Alcohol is presented as a means of connecting strangers with one another. But it's also used when the characters are feeling distressed, which could be perceived as a negative representation. On the one occasion viewers do see a character drunk -- a teenage girl -- she regrets her actions and feels quite sick when she gets back home. Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Hogan co-star.

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What's the story?

In MILITARY WIVES, with her husband deployed in Afghanistan, Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) decides to set up a choir for fellow wives to distract them from the horrors of reality. Kate recruits Lisa (Sharon Hogan) who is initially apprehensive to help her. But when the wives do join forces, unexpected friendships are formed, and the music, and laughter that comes with it, helps present them with something positive to focus their energy on.

Is it any good?

Directed by Peter Cattaneo, this movie sits in the category of feel-good comedies that display the strength in community spirit. Military Wives is akin to the likes of Calendar Girls and Unfinished Song. Equipped with that undeniable British charm, the movie is helped along by its central performances, as not only do Scott Thomas and Hogan impress, but their chemistry -- and initial lack of it -- works incredibly well on screen. Given the themes at play, it's advisable to take tissues to this one for it's a real tear-jerker. This is despite at times being conventional and predictable, with a structure that feels all too familiar.

While there's a tenderness to this story, the constant fear of death offers a profound undercurrent that enriches the story at hand. That said, it does feel rushed, and their rise from singing Don't You Want Me out of tune in a local town hall to suddenly being invited to major events feels too rapid. It's as though a whole chapter in a novel has been accidentally skipped. But these shortcomings are forgivable, as the singing sequences are engaging, and some of their renditions of songs we know and love are really rather catchy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the portrayal of women in Military Wives. Are the portrayals of the women positive?

  • Talk about death and grief, and the impact it can have on a family. Discuss times when you have lost someone, even a pet, and ways to overcome family tragedy.

  • Discuss hobbies outside of school. Are there are any local clubs, or groups that take part in communal activities? How can such places encourage teamwork?

  • Some of the women have a fear of performing? How do they overcome their fears? Describe a time you've had to show courage.

  • How is war portrayed in the movie? Why do people go to war and fight for their country? How to talk to kids about violence, crime, and war.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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