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Lily (Anna Friel) and Sophie (Julie Cox) are childhood friends who have grown up together in a London orphanage. It is now wartime London during the Blitz and the two women both have whirlwind romances with two Canadian soldiers. Lily falls in love with Joe, marries him and gets pregnant almost immediately before he is sent off to fight. Lily, along with many other women in England, becomes classified as a war bride and for safety reasons emigrates to join her husband's family in Canada. Arriving with her baby daughter in Alberta, she is met with a hostile reception by her new mother-in-law (Brenda Fricker) and sister-in-law (Molly Parker) and begins a fresh, wholly alien rural life on a remote farm. Lily is nevertheless a spirited, young woman (Anna Friel is excellent in the main role), refuses to be ground down by her new circumstances and successfully fights to become part of a very insular community. The War Bride is a fascinating, touching and powerfully authentic drama filled with good humour. The film also has excellent production values, clean and crisp visuals, and is carefully directed by Lyndon Chubbuck.
Anna Friel stars in classy wartime drama The War Bride. She plays Lily,
an orphan who suddenly finds herself married, with child and living
with hostile in-laws in the wilds of Canada. Thematically similar to
Friel's Land Girls, this is a much more accomplished affair. Her star
turn is well complimented by Brenda Fricker and Molly Parker as her
agitated in- laws.
In what could have been a very pedestrian story, timing is key. Director Lyndon Chubbuck handles this carefully, leaving it until wartime London has become familiar to whip us away to Canada and then leaving it until Lily is finally at home to rock the boat again. To guide us through this we are offered no easy timescale; no regular radio broadcasts counting down the end of the war, no montage of letters to mark the time Lily and Charlie (Aden Young) are apart. A quick blast of a public information film dissolves into Lily arriving in Canada and the rest of the film rests almost entirely on Friel's performance. Portraying a delicate balance of European femme fatal and ordinary London lass, she gets it right every time.
Additional to her fish out of water dilemma is Lily's growing attraction to local boy Joe (Loren Dean). Lily, who dresses in risqué clothing to provoke the old-fashioned community, is continually referred to as a 'tart' and because of Friel's balanced performance and the juxtaposition of modern and wartime values the film's ending is genuinely uncertain.
This is a war-story with no war. The only death takes place off camera, the only major disfigurement is the result of polio not violence. With no pretensions to heroics or history, The War Bride is a simple story, well told.
The War Bride is a beautiful and inspiring drama, beautifully photographed, with superb acting and full of personal growth. Lily, an English girl, marries Charlie, a Canadian WWII soldier from northern Alberta, who lives on a "big ranch on the prairies". That sounds good to Lily but when she is sent to Canada for the duration of the war, the reality is very different. She is stuck with a grieving mother-in-law and a crippled sister-in-law, who feed off each others' bitterness and depression. The ranch is an unproductive farm with run-down buildings. Lily is horrified but decides to make the best of it and does very well indeed. If you like this film, then see Cold Comfort Farm (1995), a similar story and an intelligent comedy.
The film makers have orchestrated a profound and moving journey, a film in
which ideas and themes emerge from the interaction of human beings, and
in competition with them. Anna Friel, Brenda Fricker and Molly Parker form
as potent a feminine triumvirate as the movies have seen in a very long
time, powerful actresses who bring as much richness to the film's silences
as to its words.
Superficially, the film could be seen as yet another variation on the "liberating outsider" scenario (a popular feminist theme exploited most recently in "Chocolat"), although in "The War Bride" there is considerably more going on than Lily simply teaching her in-laws how to cut loose and live a little. The weightier theme, which develops steadily throughout the film, deals with the inescapable effects of a global war and the extent to which a conflict can still wreak emotional havoc on those furthest removed from actual combat.
I love this film. It's a powerful story about war. But not from the usual point of view. But rather from a woman's point of view. Far from the war zone. Anna Friel, Brenda Fricker and Molly Parker combine to form a trio of women struglling,each in their own way, to come to terms with the war. They are great in this film. Both induvidualy and as a greater trio. They have to fight for their own place in a world out of their control. Struggling, bonding and clawing for every inch they can, It's inspiring to see how they build a new life. A good life constructed out of desperation . I first saw this film when in won the HeartLand film festival. I saw it again on DVD and feel in love all over again.
I liked this movie alot! I enjoy watching war movies and this one in
particular was very interesting and man the cast was wonderful, couldn't be
any better! I strongly recommend this movie!
***** out of *****
--and even though it is a war movie it has some extremely funny parts in it--
I have just watched this film and I think it is brilliant. It begins with
Lily (Anna Friel) meeting Charlie (a Canadian soldier) at a dance. She is
swept off her feet and they are soon married. Charlie promises that he
get her away from London and look after her. As Charlie goes back to
to fight, Lily gives birth to a girl and soon after receives a letter
instructing her to go and live with her Mother and Sister in-law in
Charlie has led her to believe that he lives on a big Canadian ranch.
However this is a slight exaggeration! Without giving to much away she is
not made to feel welcome by any of Charlie's family or friends, but wins
over their friendship by just being kind and human. Just as she wins them
over, Charlie returns from the war, a broken man.
The film portrays the emotions of wartime and you
feel for every character involved in the film. I cannot recommend it
Anna Friel was excellent!
If you love 1940's era films, this is a must.
The War Bride is so heartbreakingly stirring even after multiple viewings -- I go through a pile of hankies in a different spot each time I watch it -- because it's not only the story of one woman's life or even the lives of the 48,000 other British war brides who emigrated to Canada during WWII. The War Bride taps into a collective tale of the North American experience, of the pain and heartache and adventure of the people who came here looking for better lives, and left us, their children, in their wake, to uncover their secret stories.
I loved this Movie. It was warm and emotional but deep and thoughtful as well. Great performances all around. Anna Friel is wonderful in this film. She is full of life. A powerful performance. Should have won an Oscar. Everything about this movie, the photograph the, production design, the music, the costumes, the acting, all was perfect. My grand mother was a war bride in Canada and had a similar life to Lilly's. It was hard but they had no options. Anyway this is a movie every one should see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I can't think of one thing wrong with this movie? Oh...(speaking as a
total teenage girl here,) NOT ENOUGH ADEN YOUNG! (ok now that that's
over with....) I first became interested in this movie when I first
become interested in Loren Dean, who plays Joe in this film. I searched
for it everywhere on DVD, couldn't find it, and after a year or so gave
up. 3 months ago, I watch Space Cowboys, also with Loren Dean, and I
wonder to myself "Hmm, what ever happened with The War Bride." So I hop
on Netflix.com and lo and behold, there it is. I immediately move it to
the top of my queue, and within 2 days I have it.
I rush into my room, slam it into the DVD Player (the one in our living room wasn't working) and began to watch this incredible movie. First off, my teenage girl senses kicked in and I'm drooling over Aden Young in no time flat! Anna Friel, who'd I'd seen in one other film just the night before, was amazing as Lily. I probably would have acted the same way as she did. I don't know. If people talked about me the way they talked about her, I definitely would have worn the red dress! ****SPOILERS*****My favorite scene I think has to be where Charley breaks down after showing Lily his journal. A sucker for men unafraid to show their emotions I cried right along with him. As well as when Sofie comes to the house after learning of Louie's death. I cried with Lily and Sofie and said along with Lily "Why didn't you tell me?" Brenda Fricker has been one of my favorites ever since she was The Bird Lady in "Home Alone 2." I was thrilled to learn she was in this movie. ***SPOILER***I love the part where Lily fixes everyone dinner, and everyone except Joe and Betty (Fricker) are sitting back away from their plate while Joe and Betty are leaning over their plates and loving every bite! My Dad sat on the couch watching it with me a few days later and said, rather loudly, "WELL...MAMA'S ENJOYING IT!" Anna Friel, Brenda Fricker, Aden Young and Loren Dean, as well as everyone else cast in this wonderful movie was perfect for the role they were given. I loved every minute of this wonderful movie. I recommend that if you ever see it anywhere, to rent or to buy, that you rent or buy it immediately! It is one of my favorites!
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