The War Bride


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

When you marry a bloke you don't know, get pregnant in two minutes flat, spend 13 days with him and three-and-a-half years with his crabby family on a clapped out farm in the middle of nowhere, how would you feel? Watching it isn't much better.

There are messages here, if you want to read them: don't give up, love will find a way, there's light in every tunnel, let time heal the wounds. Being a GI bride was not always Hershey bars and milkshakes and lazy car rides to the lake. Sometimes it was loneliness and isolation and rigid moral policing.

Lily (Anna Friel) is a Cockney sparra during the Blitz, who meets a shy Canadian soldier, called Charlie (Aden Young), beds him, weds him and is shipped over with other war brides to Canada. She ends up in Alberta, although it doesn't look like it - no blazing summers, nor freezing winters, more in tune with Kirkubrightshire in the autumn.

The farm is a collection of shacks. Charlie's mother (Brenda Fricker) has been worn down by the hard life and his sister (Molly Parker) feels sorry for herself, because one of her legs is crippled by polio. Neither of them is pleased to see Lily.

The film wants to be positive and yet needs to be honest, too. There are sugary moments, but precious few. Lily's daughter is miraculously kept out of the way most of the time to give Lily space to do things on her own. What can she do? Learn to drive, find an old sewing machine and mend it, collect the eggs, fancy Joe (Loren Dean) at the general store, make steak and kidney pie.

She is up against poverty of imagination, prudishness, bigotry and ladies locked into pain. She's a life force, a personality, an adventurous person living in a country that has been beaten into submission by the protestant ethic.

She wants to scream, but can't. Who will hear her? And they made a movie about it. Seems masochistic and a waste of Friel's fiery talent.

Reviewed on: 28 Nov 2002
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The War Bride packshot
Anna Friel marries shy soldier during the Blitz and goes to Canada to live with his depressed family.
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Director: Lyndon Chubbuck

Writer: Angela Workman

Starring: Anna Friel, Molly Parker, Brenda Fricker, Loren Dean, Aden Young, Julie Cox

Year: 2001

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK/Canada


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