25 January 2003 | mercybell
I've seen this film several times now, and despite knowing what occurs, the beauty never wears off.
The film is aesthetically lovely, thanks to William Wyler's low key yet attentive and detailed style. The characters act naturally, something oft times missing in older films that lean to be more stylized. The acting is incredible in this film, and something many a modern film would do well to copy. Greer Garson is the portrait of strength, beauty, and dignity as Mrs. Miniver in a brilliantly played role. Yet it's the substance that stays with you. The film is telling a story about people and a time in history, and it's simple because it allows itself to be. It flows like real life, the trivial, the simple, the small moments, the enormous and life shattering. It taps into the real emotions people feel, and not big "war movie" emotions, but the joy of greeting a child upon return, of having a flower named after you and winning an award, of happiness and humor, of exhaustion, fear, pain, and grief. The film gently brings us into another life and lets us reside there. While there, we begin to love the Minivers and those that they love.
At one point in the movie, the family is in a bomb shelter and Mr. and Mrs. Miniver are talking. Mr. Miniver picks up "Alice in Wonderland" and begins to recite a passage about the joys of childhood, a summer past, and the simple pleasures in life. Mrs. Miniver finishes the passage, and Mr. Miniver (Walter Pidgeon) mentions that he wonders if Lewis Carrol ever thought that his story would be so beloved decades later. I found that interesting, because after all these years and viewings, it's the characters and their realistic palpable experiences and emotions, the strength and courage they show, and the simplicity of the film in allowing us to see it plainly and feel it too, because it's a story of the human experience we can all relate with that isn't limited to the battleground, that do and will keep this movie everlasting, and an homage to the human spirit.