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Mrs. Miniver (1942)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 2

An excessively sentimental piece of propaganda, Mrs. Miniver nonetheless succeeds, due largely to Greer Garson's powerful performance.

83

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

An excessively sentimental piece of propaganda, Mrs. Miniver nonetheless succeeds, due largely to Greer Garson's powerful performance.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,834

My Rating

Movie Info

As Academy Award-winning films go, Mrs. Miniver has not weathered the years all that well. This prettified, idealized view of the upper-class British home front during World War II sometimes seems over-calculated and contrived when seen today. In particular, Greer Garson's Oscar-winning performance in the title role often comes off as artificial, especially when she nobly tends her rose garden while her stalwart husband (Walter Pidgeon) participates in the evacuation at Dunkirk. However, even if

Feb 3, 2004

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (2) | DVD (13)

That almost impossible feat, a great war picture that photographs the inner meaning, instead of the outward realism of World War II.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A poignant story of the joys and sorrows, the humor and pathos of middle-class family life in wartime England.

January 28, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most famous and perhaps most effective propaganda film of World War II.

December 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Classic soap opera in which good old British understatement has a field day, everybody is frightfully nice, and sentimentality is wrapped up in yards of tasteful gloss.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Certainly it is the finest film yet made about the present war, and a most exalting tribute to the British, who have taken it gallantly.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's one of a few highly regarded contemporaneous motion pictures to deal frankly with the domestic aspects of World War II.

June 4, 1942 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mrs Miniver as a whole certainly is very silly sometimes... and yet, and yet. Sometimes through its sheer unselfconscious earnestness, it packs a punch.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

[A] superb wartime melodrama.

January 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Regardless of its Hollywood trappings, this remains one of the best movies about a brave era in British history.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Winning WW II story of british pluck that manages to side-step the propaganda trap.

February 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Plays out as a soap opera melodrama about a gracious family handling the wartime strife with aplomb.

May 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Frightfully nice, it's like war at teatime.

December 12, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A powerful performance from Greer Garson brings to light a disappointing time in British history just prior to and including its involvement in World War II.

October 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Franklin Roosevelt, who loved the movie, put pressure on MGM to release the film earlier than planned, but playwright Lillian Hellman told director Wyler, "Willie you have made a piece of crap." Even so, the film won Best Picture Oscar.

December 12, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

An effective piece of wartime cinematic propaganda that helped defeat the Nazis.

August 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

One of the most powerful and effective propaganda films of all time ... the job of propaganda is to work your emotions and make you believe in the cause it's selling, and in this, Mrs Miniver succeeds 100%.

September 1, 2003
Matt's Movie Reviews

Glossy, but empty propaganda still getting by on its wartime rep

October 17, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Greer's great acting is understated and yet dramatic. She's the Meryl Streep of the day, and beautiful in every shot, even when she's filthy.

August 16, 2002 Full Review Source: Zap2it.com
Zap2it.com

By underplaying masterfully, Garson makes us believe Kay's desperate need to hold her life together, as if she's sick with worry and love about a hundred things at once, and is too busy to get hysterical.

November 6, 2001 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

Watch Garson's eyes slowly enlarge as the squeal of falling bombs gets louder and louder. She looks genuinely afraid for her life.

March 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A powerful film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Audience Reviews for Mrs. Miniver

mmmm, propaganda....
March 2, 2008
brooklynspo

Super Reviewer

A middle-class family endures World War II.
Essentially propaganda, Mrs. Miniver exalts the bravery of common people in extraordinary circumstances. Of course, "common" in this uniquely British sense involves a life of luxury, and while the class issues of British society are treated tangentially, the most pressing aspect of the film is how the characters rise to their circumstances. Mrs. Miniver's courage when confronted by a marooned German soldier, Mr. Miniver's excursion on a fishing boat, and their son's flying missions are all examples of common bravery. Most of these scenes are subtle and individually compelling, but the film amounts to a simple extolling of the everyday, and as a result it becomes locked in its political message.
One scene that bothered me from a feminist perspective involves Mr. Miniver smacking his wife on the bottom after he finds out she is responsible for the marooned German's capture. The patriarchal necessity that the man be the locus of courage was yet another reminder that this film is confined to its era.
Overall, while there is some good acting, war propaganda can only go so far.
November 30, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

It really hasn't aged all that well, but this is nonetheless a decently well made and well-intentioned World War II drama. What sets it apart from contemporary films about WWII is that it came out during the war, and was thus focusing on current events, specifically the impact of the war on the homefront, which, in the case of the film, happnes to primarily focuses on the war's effect on the Miniver household, mainly the title character- a nice lady from Britain's upper crust.

I liked the choices they made in terms of setting and how it focuses less on the soldiers and more on those who did their part to support the war effort off the battlefield. Being that it is a Hollywood production that apparently got great acclaim from Churchill, the film tends to stick out as being a very idealized and sanitized melodramatic propaganda piece.

There are soem really moving scenes though, and, like I said, the film is well intentioned, but as a result of all I've just said, the film is extremely biased and seems rather quaint and safe by today's standards. Aside from this, the film takes a while to really get going, it's rather uneven, and there's a fair amount of screentime where the title character isn't even the focus or present in the events.

It's not a waste though. The perforamnces are decent, the subject matter interesting (even if the execution could use some work), and, as I said, there are some really moving sequences that are quite well done, especially the bomb shelter sequence.

All in all, a noble film, but nothing really all that great. I can see why it was popular and acclaimed upon its release, but this is one of the many cases where the decision to give it the BEST PICTURE award hasn't stood the test of time. You should still perhaps give it a watch, but if you want a propaganda piece that is something of a masterpiece (and please don't take this recommendation out of context), see Triumph of the Will instead.
February 18, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A pretty good drama about life during WWII, which came out during WWII. Not really exciting, but the actors are good.
October 11, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

    1. Vicar: This is the people's war! It is our war! We are the fighters! Fight it, then! Fight it with all that is in us, and may God defend the right.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Mrs. Miniver (UK)
  • Mrs. Miniver (1942) (CA)
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