War Bride (2001) – movie review

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Movie Review by S Felce

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

Director: Lyndon Chubbuck

In a London completely destroyed by the Second War World lives Lily (Anna Friel), who works as a seamstress with her childhood friend Sophie. Lily is young and beautiful. The brutality of the war doesn’t take away her idealistic view of life, however it just makes her more resourceful and full of energy as she strives to survive. One day Lily meets Charlie Travis (Aden Young), a Canadian soldier and falls deeply in love with him. They get married shortly after meeting and she becomes pregnant just before he is sent off to the front line. She is then, as a ‘war bride’, sent to Canada to live with her in-laws to be safe after their baby daughter is born.

Lily leaves England, full of hope for a new life, away from the sadness and poverty of London. Awaiting her in Canada is a completely different country, with different customs and way of life. When she arrives nothing is as she expected. It is a small farm in a desert landscape with two hostile women who do not really want her there. Lily’s mother-in-law (Brenda Fricker) along with a sister-in-law (Molly Parker) are unwelcoming from the beginning and she feels alienated. Her clothing is unsuitable for working on a farm, her warm manners and her liveliness are misinterpreted for being flirtations and therefore inappropriate.

But Lily is a survivor, she struggles to adapt to her new environment, replacing her nice shoes and always-polished nails to second hand farm clothing and dirty boots. Nevertheless she brings her energy and love for life to her new family, trying to show them there is beauty in everything.

Anna Friel is fantastic as Lily, and together with Fricker and Parker, gives a very powerful performance. Director Lyndon Chubbuck handles the whole story very well. It would have been very easy to fall into clichés. Instead, he creates a story, which is simple, but authentic, touching and fascinating.

4 out of 6 stars