Based on real events, Peter Cattaneo’s Military Wives tells the tale of a group of wives who find solace in a choir while their partners are away in Afghanistan. When Kate (Kristen Scott Thomas), the wife of a high-ranking officer, decides to join the Social Committee she immediately butts heads with long-standing chair Lisa (Sharon Horgan). Opposites in everyway, Kate prefers structured activities, while Lisa favours anything where drinking is involved. Agreeing to start a choir, the two women must learn to navigate their vastly different styles in time for a televised performance.
Delivering familiar beats throughout, Cattaneo’s film is a feel-good dramedy that plays it safe. Where the film works best is in its depiction of the heavy burden the military wives must carry. Living in fear that every phone call, text or news report will deliver devastating news, the women are expected to keep up a brave façade while maintaining the household at the same time. However, much like Kate and Lisa who seek distractions from the reality of their situation, Military Wives cares more about the inspiration that the music provides than exploring the women in any depth.
Though the supporting players are thinly written, Scott Thomas and Horgan are delightful in their roles. They bring the right balance of humour and emotion to the film. They also allow the musical numbers, which range from classic to pop, to resonate. While Military Wives’ plot sings to a very familiar tune, the film is still a crowd-pleaser.