Virginia McKenna and Miriam Margoles star as former Land Army Girls who reconnect in their twilight years.
I felt so close to tears at the end of this film. Telling the story of the people who had their stories silenced is a beautiful thing to do, but to then round it off in a way that gives the ending they so rightfully deserve gives us as an audience, but also the people it’s aimed at a feeling that we cannot describe. It’s like being welcomed home after being turned away for so long. Finally being accepted for who you are after pretending for a whole lifetime. I didn’t feel near crying because of the sadness of the first half, instead I felt an overwhelming sense of joy.
Using music rather than dialogue, we’re taken on an emotional journey with the characters during two big time periods. From the days of the Second World War, to deciding to move into a care home, the energies that the music creates are wonderful in connecting us to the story but also letting us see into the minds of the characters. Similar to the start of the Pixar film Up, the first half of this short could be a film on its own, telling the true histories of so many women during WWII who became part of the land army, but also the history of people having to hide their sexuality to fit in with tradition and community. It’s something that seems alien to modern day society and norms, but I’m sure there will be people watching it who see themselves in the characters, whether young and unsure whether they will be accepted or not, or older people who have partners and children so do not want to shake their entire families lives. Like I said, it was bittersweet, emphasising that who we love isn’t always ok with everyone, but time can heal, and I think the music by Jon Mills was a wonderful part of the story.
Wings shows us the lives of Audrey and Dora. Carla Fraser plays Audrey as a Land Army Girl and I loved her body language and facial expressions, opening up this story to us. We see her as a happy wife and mother, but when the war hits, things change. Introduced to Dora, played by Rosie Day, they start as friends but begin to realise that they are in love. Again, Day’s expressions are incredible at sharing Dora’s feelings of happiness and the upset of it all changing. Even though we don’t know what these characters are saying, the way they act and react shows the feelings they have, meaning that we can being to understand their true feelings. As time passes, we see Dora, now played by Virginia McKenna, moving into a care home. She’s elegant, with a caring family making sure she’s settled in before they go. Sat next to her by the most incredible chance is Audrey, now played by Miriam Moyles. Again, the way their eyes brighten, mouth moves just a touch, we can feel every emotion that they’re feeling because we can see it. The present mirrors the past with a slow supercut of fun and games as they can happily live without hiding. The casting in this short was absolutely superb.
Directed by Jamie Weston, who also wrote the short with Carla Fraser, we feel the love and care in it through its dedication to the women of WWII. It’s delicate and peaceful, never using the sadness as a dramatic beat-dropping moment or emphasising the happiness with sickening saturated visuals. It’s real and often rare to see that in such a short production. To tie it in with the announcement of war, changing to the reports of same sex marriages being allowed was so clever, and something I’m sure the people it’s inspired by will be happy and proud to see.
Wings is a beautiful watch, something I recommend anyone to see.