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Military Wives  (DVD)

6/10

Stars: Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan, Jason Flemyng, Greg Wise, Emma Lowndes

Director: Peter Cattaneo

Now on video-on-demand from March 27, and a blatant rip-off of the first series of TV's The Choir, this is a big weepie about wives of personnel sent to Afghanistan who, after disastrous dices with knitting circles, book clubs and coffee mornings, decide to form a choir.

Driving forces behind the project are the chalk-and-cheese team of uptight, bossy Kate (Scott Thomas), the colonel's wife, whose son has already been killed in action, and more outgoing Lisa (Horgan), wife of the regimental sergeant-major, who has a teenage daughter,

Naturally, Kate has high-falutin' ideas, dissing the down-to-earth Lisa at every step. She is, however, too much of a pain-in-the-butt to believe in.

The consequent choir's first public performance is a catastrophe heavily contrived by the script, which has their open-air songs interrupted by beeping and chuntering vehicles and boys on skateboards.

Even so, the top brass hears them sing, and orders the embryonic choir to appear at the Royal Albert Hall's Festival of Remembrance where, the original dozen swelled mysteriously to nearly 30, they burst into glorious choral harmony with little or no rehearsal.

Still, director Cattaneo tugs vigorously away at our emotional strings, and may occasionally draw a furtive tear from the very easily moved. It's patchily entertaining, if not a patch on dear old Gareth Malone.

David Quinlan

UK 2019. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Panalux.
106 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 25 Mar 2020