Monday, 5 May 2014

Mrs Miniver

Mrs Miniver, 1942
Directed by William Wyler
Nominated for 12 Oscars, Won 6
Wins Include: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright), Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Cinematography (Black-and-white)

Sorry about the little hiatus there. It's been a bit of a busy few weeks for me, including the fact that my husband and I took a week long trip to Portugal at the end of April. But I'm back now, and I'll be posting a little more frequently from now on as I'm down to less than 15 films left to watch, and I'm hoping to catch a few movies in theatres this summer. But now, moving on to my review

Mrs. Miniver is mother and wife in a middle class family in England. Her oldest son, Vin, is home from university now, and begins to court Carol, Lady Beldon's granddaughter. Though WWII soon enters the picture, making a turn for this middle class family. Vin has enlisted in the air force, and her husband does some boating patrol, and even participates in rescuing British soldiers from Dunkirk. Mrs Miniver fights her own battles as well as she is trying to protect her two younger children, and even gets a scare when she finds an injured German soldier in her backyard, who then holds her at gunpoint for food and a jacket. But she also has been named after a rose, a rose in which is being entered in a flower competition against Lady Beldon's rose.

This movie, I found to be extremely mediocre. The story, for the most part, was very run of the mill WWII story. The most interesting parts of the film were 2 different scenes. The 1st being the German Soldier holding Mrs Miniver at gunpoint for food and a jacket after being discovered in her backyard. This was something that differed from films on this topic from more or less this time period of filmmaking. It was an interesting scene that really showed a lot of character from Mrs Miniver, but was also just something very different to show within a film of this kind. The second scene worth mentioning is one of the worst air raids the Miniver family experiences. They are in their bomb shelter in the backyard, the two youngest children sleeping, while Mr and Mrs Miniver talk, and make a few jokes before the onslaught ensues. The bombs get so close to them that they are rattled around and the children thrown from their beds. Later, we see that the bombs destroyed large portions of their house. This really showed the devestation so many families lived through, and how close they were to being killed. Especially since seconds earlier, Mr Miniver was standing outside the bomb shelter having a smoke.

But besides these few scenes, the movie didn't have too much of a story, and when it did attempt to have one, it became rushed and didn't expand on itself. The acting performances were quite good, seeing as there were 5 nominations, one in each category, and 2 winners. Indeed, the ladies of this film stole the show, which was kind of a nice change up from some of the other WWII films out there.

As well, it's always interesting to have films being made about the current war. This film was released in 1942, only about halfway through the war that is shown and discussed in the film. While I understand making films about current wars, it is interesting that it is also based on a book, and was put into production only a year into the war. The ever changing war makes for an interesting filming process, as you don't want your film to be completely out of date by the time it's released, but, as far as I can tell, the film did a good job of staying in the present, even if some changes had to be made throughout.

The decision to tell the story almost only from Mrs Miniver's point of view seems to make the film a little limiting. Had the film been more focused on Vin and Carol, the young courtship that starts at the beginning of the war and sees them married during it, could've been extremely interesting, especially given how the film ends. But as well, the film also wasn't solely based on Mrs Miniver either, and didn't really show her as a strong woman holding her family together, so I even question the fact of it being called Mrs Miniver. Had the film been spread wider and extended beyond the stories it told, the film could've been much more interesting.

Acting- 8/10 
Directing- 7.5/10 
Screenplay- 6.5/10 
Visuals- 7.5/10 
Music- 7.5/10 
Emotional Connection- 6/10 
Entertainment- 6.5/10 
Rewatchability- 6/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 6.5/10 
Overall Package- 7/10       

Total: 69/100

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