Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Mrs. Miniver

Please pardon me if there are any mistakes in the following - because my eyes are still stinging with tears, and sometimes the vision gets a little blurred.
5 out of 5 stars.
I can't really see how this film might be improved. The story, the art, the acting, the itention; they all come together to create a viewing pleasure.
Basic Plot: It begins in England in 1939 - war is brewing, but still life is happy for the Miniver family. Blissfully happy. Then war is declared, and their world changes.
I can't really think of why it should be titled after Mrs, Miniver - even though it is told from her point of view, Really it is about the people of a small villiage in wartime; each doing their own part. The characters and the cast playing them are all top notch. There is a quaintness about the coming and goings of their humdrum lives. Simple pleasures and content people. And their spirit is so strong, so sustaining.
A couple of shining moments (without giving too much away): Thebomb shelter sequence. It wonderfully shows a group of people being used to having to hide away and going about the usual: knitting, stepping outside for a smoke - and then the bombs really start to fall. And suddenly it's load an noisy and frightening. The kids are crying and screaming and everyone clings together in such a small space, it almost makes you feel claustrophobic watching it. And then the lights are out and you can only partially see them huddled in the darkness, which makes the space seem even smaller.
The Flower Contest: In spite of everything, the town is able to keep its annual flower contest. The choir sings, the band plays, people mingle in the beautiful spring air - the men drink beer with their pals, and the children lounge on the grass. It is a perfect day. All the more potent because of the enduring spirit. Men in uniform from the local airfield also dot the crowd, as a kind of reminder that still we are ever watchful. And then the announcement of the planes coming. The Lady's speech has such a powerful effect. Go home if you can, if not come into my cellars and we will all be together and safe. It's just such an enduring spirit - I was moved to tears.
The rest I really can't go too much into detail about. But I have to say it again - it is such a beautiful story - so full of the things that make us so proud of the human race. All are to be commended who worked on this film. It is beautiful!
It won 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress. It has been selected for preservations by the Nations Film Registry.

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