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Military Wives - Film Review

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by Mistress of Culture Vultures (subscribe)
I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
Published February 21st 2020
Military Wives stick it to the white male establishment

'Great music doesn't happen when your perfect – it happens when you care' – Lisa

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Sharon Hogan plays 'Lisa'


Transmission Films is proud to release Military Wives, previewing in cinemas across Australia from 6 March 2020, just in time to celebrate International Women's Day.

Directed by Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) and starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Hogan, Military Wives is a film based on the true story of the two ladies who started a women's choir in an army barracks in England.

Military Wives is an endearing and uplifting film of 'Sisters doing it for themselves' (Eurythmics) when times get tough.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) receiving a late night news about the war


Kate Barkly (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Lisa (Sharon Hogan) are both military wives of senior personnel and live in constant fear their partners will not return alive from Afghanistan. Lisa is happy with the 'wives' coffee mornings and wine nights whilst the troops are away. But Kate sees this as a self-destructive cycle and is determined to show the ladies more functional ways to cope – as she feels it is her duty to set an example as the Colonel's wife.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Kate conducting choir whilst Lisa plays keyboard


After a failed attempt to start a knitting club, Lisa decides to go along with Kate's idea to start a women's choir – for any woman living in the army barracks. However, Lisa and Kate's artistic ideas are miles apart and form the central conflict of the film. Kate is the classic stalwart, private school educated and conservative stoic military wife and is keen for a high brow classical choir. However, Lisa is younger, popular with the other ladies and is looking for something hip and cool, which the other ladies will enjoy.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Lisa's husband hugs their daughter before he goes to war


But no community is perfect – there are always conflicts, divisions, misunderstandings and quibbles over stupid things – and this film really shows how a community can either stick together or tear itself apart.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Kate saying goodbye to her husband


Lisa has insecurities about parenting her teenage daughter, whilst her husband is away on duty. Lisa fears her daughter is running wild 'like mother, like daughter' and that she will lose her, and her husband to the war in Afghanistan.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Army Mum with her children counting down the days until Daddy gets home


Although Kate appears to be the choir stalwart and disciplinarian, constantly pulling Lisa up on her 'laissez-faire' approach to choir leadership, she is also grieving the recent death of her son.

Military Wives explores how each woman copes differently with their grief when their partner is called away to serve in war. Some women drink, others become obsessed with online shopping, while others invest their time into their children and make special gifts to send to their partner, living in the hope to receive a return letter. It's a waiting game, as often online communication is restricted, and there is the constant waiting for the unwanted knock at the door, with bad news.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
Official Flyer


Military Wives exemplifies community with a big 'C' and heart with a big 'H'. Some home truths hit hard in this film, but these result in an amazing performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London which is more than spine-tingling.

choir, singing, community, heart, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Full Monty, England, Afghanistan, War, grief, Peter Cattaneo, military wives, International Women's Day
The Military Wives Choir


There is something for everyone in this film. If you sing or are in a community choir you will love this film. If you know the military life, you will also appreciate the stories and if you enjoy a simple grassroots story with a stellar cast then you will also enjoy it.

See it now at a cinema near you.




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*Mistress of Culture Vultures was invited as a guest
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Why? An uplifting film about women sticking together when times get tough
Where: Cinemas throughout Australia
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by Jen on 11/02/2020
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