Running Time: 134 minutes
Directed By: William Wyler
Written By: Arthur Wimperis, George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, from the novel by Jan Struther
Main Cast: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright, Richard Ney, Dame May Whitty
Click here to view the trailer
Note: So since this is both a former/future BOOK movie AND my very first Blind Spot review, I'm going to be tinkering with the review format just a little, as I'm looking to try a shorter style review for the Blind Spot movies.
2016 BLIND SPOT SERIES: JANUARY
WHAT I KNEW GOING IN AND WHY I CHOSE IT
Literally knew nothing going into Mrs. Miniver. I had an inkling that it was a Best Picture winner, but I wasn't even 100% sure on that fact. Giving a perusal to the other contenders that year, I've personally only seen three of the ten noms; this one, The Magnificent Ambersons and Yankee Doodle Dandy - the latter of which I'd have to give the coup. However, despite knowing literally nothing about Mrs. Miniver prior to my viewing, I had always heard of the film and it was one of the ones that I was always shocked didn't make it into my edition of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. And after watching it yesterday, this seemed to me like just the thing that would've been up THE BOOK'S alley. And yes, a few years ago when they completely revamped THE BOOK, this one was finally included.
It was pretty much chosen because 1) I'd heard about it so much, in passing, but had never seen even a sliver of it and 2) at this point, any Best Picture winner that has escaped my eyes has to be considered a blind spot, right?
The film revolves around the Miniver family (imagine that), headed up by Mrs. Miniver (Garson), along with her husband, Clem (Pidgeon). They're a fun couple, at times playful - who have raised one son, Vincent (Ney) into a fine young man and are in the process of raising two more kids - 1 boy, 1 girl. The family has surpassed the middle class and live comfortably, thanks to Clem's efforts as a successful architect. However, when World War II breaks out, even the upper class aren't exempt from the wrath of warfare. The film follows the Miniver clan as they face the struggles that living in a war torn country present - watching their beloved "Vin" go off to battle and spending sleepless nights in a shelter, while bombings and air raids sound like the end of the world outside. There's also this whole subplot about a rose - which is also named the "Mrs. Miniver"...
I will say though that the film made me realize what an impact World War II had on literally EVERYBODY who was living at the time, especially those living in Europe where the battle was being waged. It also made me realize why there's probably so many films on the subject, as artists have a tendency to create based on what has worn on them emotionally and CLEARLY, WWII wore down a lot of artists (filmmaker's and novelists, I'm talking about here) emotionally. Be it the Holocaust and the massacre of millions of Jews or simply a family who had to spend a few unforgettable nights in a bomb shelter, while their babies bawled their eyes out and they wondered if they'd ever see the light of day again. Speaking of that, I'd have to call that particular scene the best of the film - a scene where Garson and Pidgeon's characters' hear bombs going off outside and try to mask their fear by discussing Alice in Wonderland - played masterfully by both actor and actress. Despite my dislike for the movie, I'll still admit that there are a handful of perfectly acted, perfectly executed scenes - including one where a German soldier holds Mrs. Miniver at gunpoint and another where Dame May Whitty's Lady Beldon forfeits the rose competition. Unfortunately, all of these wonderful scenes are interlaced with quite the boring affair and again, it's a war movie, which for the life of me, I just can't get lost in. My imagination just clams up on me when I'm presented with war material and no matter how hard I try, 95% of the time, I'm unenthused.
RATING: 4/10 I'll consider the discovery of Greer Garson as the one big takeaway of this film and everything else is just very rough to get through. Unless you're a list hound (like me) and don't care about seeing all of the Best Picture winners, then give this a pass.
February 29, 2016 4:33pm