Mrs. Miniver (1942)

People love war movies, I'm not exactly sure why. It would seem that war would be the time that we would like to forget about the most; it's also a time that can express great tragedy, learning, and even beauty. A lot of moving pictures cover war times and an equal amount of them land in the Best Picture field. "Mrs. Miniver" is one of those films, from the beginning when we are told the date in 1939 it seems inevitable that this film will have some war in it—and it does.
Mrs. Miniver is a good little wife, she enjoys expensive things but she knows that material possessions don't give her happiness. At the beginning of the movie she buys herself a nice new hat and her husband buys a new car. They smile at each other and speak horribly sugary sweet dialogue that is filled with cliches and hot air. But we know that war is coming....
Their oldest son comes back from college and his studies have made him a confused boy who thinks that he knows everything. He gets into a fight with the girl who lives next door and the next thing you know, it's true love...whoa, nobody saw that coming.
But we know that war is coming...
A man who works at the train stations take Mrs. Miniver aside and tells her that because she's so nice to him every time she walks by he's going to name a rose he grew after her. A what a lovely rose it is. So he decides to submit the rose to a garden competition that is basically under a dictatorship from Lady Beldon (who is also the grandmother of the girl who falls in love with Vin Miniver [the oldest son]). Everybody tells him it's a foolish idea but anyone can submit flowers so he decides to do it anyway.
But we know that war is coming...
And then finally the war comes. We know, of course, that Vin will be shipped off to war and then something will go awry in the love department.
And guess what?...that's exactly what happens.
But the war parts are the best in the movie because the movie finally has a sense of direction.
What helps the movie in these parts is the lack of a dramatic score that builds and screeches at the slightest hint. The movie allows the actors to just act.
But there's nothing new here. It does have its good moments but those collapse under the weight of all the fluff.
For a Best Picture winner "Mrs. Miniver" sits nicely in the middle of the rest of the movies. It's not bad but it's not great.
Also, the ending is really weird because all the actions seem like it's a anti-war movie until the final scene which completely ruins everything the movie had built upon.
I liked "Mrs. Miniver"—it could have been better, but it's not bad.

Score: 3 stars out of 4

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