review for The Miniver Story on AllMovie

The Miniver Story (1950)
by Craig Butler review

Possible The Miniver Story might seem a better film if it didn't have to bear the brunt of inevitable comparison to its predecessor, Mrs. Miniver -- but even it that case, it still wouldn't be a good film. Story is heavy-handed soap opera, whereas Mrs. was a drama with heart. The story in Story is one that has been told countless times before and since -- that of a martyr, often as in this case, a wife and/or mother, who puts the needs of her loved ones far, far in advance of her own. It's also that old chestnut about a person who is dying but who -- though she would never admit this -- doesn't trust her family enough to let them in on this devastating development which is going to drastically affect their lives. Beyond the plot, the screenplay is banal in character development and dialogue. Worse, it betrays the characters as portrayed in Mrs., making changes that are unacceptable. H.C. Potter's direction is serviceable, but what is needed is outstanding helming. Under the circumstances, the cast does as good a job as possible. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon have plenty of star quality and their chemistry is intact, but she is reduced to begging for tears and he to trying to burst through the wooden façade of his character. They are so talented that they overcome these obstacles, making Story watchable -- but not memorable.