96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
A White Rose Turned Red From Tears,
This review is from: Mrs. Miniver (DVD)
This beautiful drama about a quiet English village and its inhabitants during the early days of WWII is perfect in every way. Director William Wyler was himself flying a bombing mission over Germany the night the Academy got it right and singled it out as Best Picture. Like the hat Greer Garson purchases despite the cost, this film is rather precious, and if made tomorrow, would still win the award for Best Picture.
Wyler was delivered a fabulous script from screenwriters Arthur Wimpers, George Froeschell, James Hilton, and Claudine West. Greer Garson's restrained performance as Jan Struther's heroine won her Best Actress honors but the entire cast is equally good, Teresa Wright especially so as the bright and cheery young woman who would marry the Miniver's son and show them all the way.
Wyler paints a lovely picture of day-to-day life in 1939 for the Miniver family and the small village where they live. Greer Garson is the nice Mrs. Miniver. An early scene when the kind porter Mr. Ballard (Henry Travers) reveals to her that he has named the beautiful red rose he intends to enter in the yearly floral contest after her, sets the feelings and mood of the entire film. The story of the white rose turning red from tears yet made more beautiful was not lost on audiences on both sides of the pond. If ever a film gave the world a resolve to stand up to evil, this quiet and touching film certainly did.
Wyler shows the poignancy of young men going off to war as the Miniver's young son, Vin, home from college and full of ideals, joins the R.A.F. There is one terribly moving scene as Garson listens with all her being as the planes fly over, waiting for Vin's signal that he is one of those returning. Wyler shows the efforts of all during the early days of the war to help in any way possible. Clem (Walter Pidgeon) will use his small boat along with his fellow villagers in a dangerous rescue mission during the night, beautifully filmed by the director.
But through the air raids, which become matter-of-fact for the Miniver family, the joyous moments of living are shown by Wyler, leaving no doubt that life will and does go on. Dame May Whitty is superb as the village's most powerful woman, Lady Beldon. She is the grandmother of the sweet Carol, portrayed winningly by Teresa Wright. It is her romance with Vin (Richard Ney) which will provide the most poignant moment in the film, showing that tragedy could come at any moment.
Garson's cool resolve when confronting a downed German flyer in her kitchen is never to be forgotten. Neither are the moments of Mrs. Miniver's small children sleeping peacefully in the cellar during air raids hitting closer and closer to home while Clem talks and she knits. Just as moving, however, is the moment the winner for best rose is announced.
There is a deeply moving and unexpected death, just as it happened to many families, English and otherwise, during the war. But it will not defeat the Minivers or the village, and the final speech was so stirring that Roosevelt had leaflets of it dropped from the air all over Europe.
Rarely does something so entertaining have the substance of "Mrs. Miniver." It is no wonder that Churchill said "Mrs. Miniver" was more important to the war effort than an entire fleet of of destroyers ever could have been. A magnificent and unforgettable film you can watch time and again with the entire family. A must see film for everyone.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 23, 2007 12:07:16 PM PDT
Kat Blue says:
This review is wonderful. I was interested in obtaining the DVD or VHS, however, now I must have it. The present is a very trying time for all of us. I certainly wish our People of Our Beloved Country, would be Patriotic and stand together as one force, and forget the pettiness of "Democrat vs Republican", we are not gaining anything by verbally abusing each other, which is really abuse of "ourselves."
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2007 9:24:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 29, 2007 3:57:37 PM PDT
Thank you for the kind words about my review. I wrote it because I love the film and its message. It is nice that it touched someone on a personal level. The days when Hollywood pulled together as one with the rest of the country is, alas, only a nostalgic dream, however sweet the lingering fragrance that unity of purpose as Americans may be.
Posted on May 19, 2008 1:20:12 PM PDT
M. Logan says:
The review made me cry. I can only imagine what the film will do. You have a beautiful way with words.
In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008 4:35:40 PM PDT
Thank you also for the kind words about the review. They don't really make films such as Mrs. Miniver anymore.
Posted on May 26, 2008 3:04:46 PM PDT
I have always loved "Mrs. Miniver" but could not have explained why as eloquently as you did in your review. Thank you!
In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2008 4:38:02 PM PDT
Jim M says:
The movie itself is very good and very early 40's production company --Stout hearted folks going about their business under the duress of war. Of course the background shows the complexity of real life. Vin her movie son (Richard Ney) was actually Greer Garson's love and soon to be real life husband for a short period of time. There was supposed to be some tension on the set as he played off against the young Carol-Teresa Wright
In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2008 5:09:17 PM PDT
Thanks so much for your kind words. I think a lot of people really cherish this film classic but for some reason it doesn't always come up when great films from the era are discussed. Some with today's sensibilities and somewhat jaded view of things consider it propganda I think. But it is a beautifully made film which stirred and moved people to understand just what was at stake and why it was so important the world make a stand. And it was done in such an entertaining way that decades later it remains just as moving.
In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2008 5:13:39 PM PDT
If there were any tensions on set in regards to the situation, it never showed through Wyler's camera. Wright was very underrated and quite lovely. She was excellent in Miniver and many others during the 1940's.
Posted on Jan 28, 2012 3:51:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 28, 2012 3:53:38 PM PST
P. Anderson says:
I agree, a beautiful review that really captures the spirit of the film.
I think that the real reason for it's power is the skillful and human hands of its director, William Wyler. There was no one better at making a huge historical event powerfully intimate and human (look at Ben Hur).
And I agree with Bobby's assessment of Teresa Wright. She's not one that many think of regarding important actors of the 40's but think of who have used her--Wyler (more than once) and even Hitchcock. She's important--and even irreplaceable--in these important films (yes, I'm a fan...).
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2012 5:29:42 PM PST
Thanks, and yes, Teresa Wright was excellent and lent an undeniable charm to films during her time.