Review: War Bride

Anna Friel in War Bride

War Bride is a 2001 release. It’s available on Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube. It’s a bit of WWII Canadian history with a great cast.

Lily (Anna Friel) meets a Canadian soldier in London during the war. Charlie (Aden Young) and Lily fall in love, get married, and get pregnant in about 6 days. Then he’s off to Europe to fight. Lily’s best friend Sophie (Julie Cox) does the same thing – minus the pregnancy.

They are invited to join their in-laws in Canada, where they can be safe. Sofie hits the jackpot with a rich guy and goes off to live in luxury.

Molly Parker and Brenda Fricker in War Bride
Sylvia and Betty and not happy to bring Lily into their world.

Lily finds herself on a dry land prairie farm where Charlie’s sister Sylvia (Molly Parker) and mother (Brenda Fricker) are barely scraping by. Charlie’s infant daughter is welcome, but bubbly Lily with her foreign ways and revealing dresses is a problem.

Adjusting to Lily’s arrival puts a strain on everyone. Including Joe (Loren Dean). Joe is almost the sweetheart to Sylvia, but Lily is a fascinating temptation. Peggy (Caroline Cave) was Charlie’s girl before the war and would like to stick daggers in Lily’s heart.

Nobody knows if Charlie will even make it back from the war. There’s a dispute over whether Lily should get Charlie’s army pay, or his mother. His mother was getting it before the marriage. There are disputes over how Lily can do her share around the farm. She’s a genius with a sewing machine, so she adds to the family income with seamstress work. But there’s tension in the house and in the town about Lily. Sophie comes to visit in a chauffeured car and Lily almost runs off with her.

Lily sticks it out with Charlie’s family. He is her husband, after all. Her cheerful ways and gift for having a good time eventually loosen up both Sylvia and Charlie’s mother. Anna Friel does a great job in this part. Lily’s going to be herself and make the best of it, by damn.

Molly Parker as Sylvia had an interesting story line. Molly Parker is such an interesting actor. Versatile to the max. Sylvia’s leg is in a brace due to polio. She’s shy and sure she can’t do much of anything besides housework. She refused to wear a silky teddy Lily made her. Lily forced her to learn to dance, to drive a car, and to let Joe know she was interested in him.

The story was well written by Angela Workman. She created an interesting mix of female characters. The actors were well cast and gave excellent performances. Lyndon Chubbuck directed.

I was very fond of Bomb Girls, another Canadian look at what happened to women during WWII. I’m glad this story was interesting and well done as well.

The 48,000 war brides, mostly British like Lily, who came to Canada during WWII had a lasting impact on Canada and Canadian history. Their stories have been the source for books and movies. War Bride is a lovely tale of romance and an interesting look at history.

One thought on “Review: War Bride”

Share your comments