Why ‘Military Wives’ Director Peter Cattaneo Wouldn’t Call His Feel-Good Movie a ‘Comedy’ (Video)

Toronto Film Festival 2019: “It’s just trying to be a film about humanity, and humanity is full of comedy,” Cattaneo says

Last Updated: September 11, 2019 @ 1:09 PM

“Military Wives” is a feel-good story about some goofy ladies in Britain and how they form a choir while their husbands are fighting overseas in Afghanistan. Sounds like a lot of fun. But don’t just call it a “comedy,” director Peter Cattaneo says. It’s much more real than that.

Cattaneo directed Best Picture-nominee “The Full Monty,” so he knows a thing or two about making true-to-life British stories that find both the humor, levity and drama among the problems of ordinary people. His latest film “Military Wives” follows in that tradition.

“This film has laughs in it, it has tears in it, it’s bittersweet, it’s got humor, very naturalistic, character-based comedy. I would never call it a comedy, but I wouldn’t want to call it a comedy drama because that sounds lame, like a not-funny comedy,” Cattaneo told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman following its premiere at TIFF. “But it’s an honest story about people who like to make each other laugh. And actually sometimes the tougher their life gets, the more they need to make each other laugh just to survive.”

Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan and Jason Flemyng star in the film that’s “not” a comedy about how their choir that was designed to pass the time and ease the pain of sending loved ones off to war soon fills their lives with joy and becomes a media sensation. The story is inspired by similar groups of military wives in Britain who have likewise turned to music while their husbands are overseas.

“I just wanted to fill it with naturalistic interchange and comedy between characters. We’re never laughing at them. There’s no like gags. It’s just funny dialogue, funny situations and honesty and observation,” Cattaneo said. “I think it’s not trying to be a comedy. It’s just trying to be a film about humanity, and humanity is full of comedy.”

Bleecker Street acquired “Military Wives” out of TIFF and is planning a theatrical release. Check out TheWrap’s video with Cattaneo, Horgan and Flemyng above.

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