Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, War Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 4, 1942 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 134 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Richard Gilliam

Mrs. Miniver was a World War II propaganda film that, early in the war, helped build and sustain public support for the United States' involvement in Europe. Parts of it may now seem forced and artificial, particularly Greer Garson's Oscar-winning performance. Garson's Oscar win and lengthy acceptance speech became a long-running joke in Hollywood -- for example, the claims that she stayed at the podium for 45 minutes or more. (Her actual acceptance remarks took around 5 minutes, still the longest-ever Oscar acceptance speech.) The film contains the sort of elements that you would expect it to contain. Garson is the strong-willed British homemaker who refuses to allow Nazi bombs to ruin her roses. She is noble and brave and self-sacrificing and all those things that a government asks its people to be in times of war. The film is constructed so smoothly that it's easy to overlook its craft. Hollywood did its part for the war effort and honored Mrs. Miniver with six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director (William Wyler). As soon as WWII was over, Wyler would direct The Best Years of Our Lives, the era's most insightful movie about the hardships that war brings to families.