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The Miniver Story

The Miniver Story(1950)

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While shopping in London on 8 May 1945, suburban housewife Mrs. Kay Miniver hears the official radio announcement that the war on the European front has ended. Upon returning to her home in a small village outside of London, Kay begins preparations for the imminent homecoming of her family: young son Toby, sent to live in the United States in order to escape the bombing raids; daughter Judy, a military nurse stationed in Cairo; and husband Clem, an officer in the British Army. That evening, as the entire village gathers together to celebrate V-E Day and to bid farewell to the Allied troops stationed there, Spike Romway, the American commander of the troops, confesses to Kay that he has fallen in love with her. Though touched by Spike's admission, Kay reminds him that intense bonds have been created by the hardships of war, and she wisely counsels him to forget about her so that he can rekindle his love for the wife he left behind. Within a few weeks, the Minivers are reunited and begin the process of returning to normal family life. Clem goes back to work at his architectural firm, and everyone is amused by Toby's adoption of American slang and his obsession with baseball. Kay and Clem grow concerned over Judy's passionate love for General Steve Brunswick, a man several years her senior who has only recently separated from his wife. Unknown to her family, Kay has been diagnosed with a fatal illness and, after suffering a dizzy spell in the presence of Clem, she visits her physician, Dr. Kanesley, to find out how much time she has left. After Dr. Kanesley gently informs Kay that her disease has progressed rapidly because of the stresses of the war, he gives her a life expectancy of only six months to one year. Although Dr. Kanesley advises her to tell her family as soon as possible, Kay repeatedly finds herself unable to do so. In the meantime, Clem, who has experienced difficulty in returning to the work he once loved, applies for a position in Brazil and begs Kay to consider moving the family there so that they can start all over. Searching for a reason behind her husband's desire to leave his beloved England, Kay soon suspects that his depression is linked to the view he sees each day from his office window, the devastation of London caused by prolonged bombing during the war. After Kay and Clem's secretary Janet move him into another office, Clem's anxiety disappears and he turns down the foreign job offer. Kay and Clem continue to worry about Judy's love for Steve and secretly hope that she will one day acknowledge the affections of Tom Foley, an aspiring architect and the son of the Minivers' neighbors. However, Judy soon announces that she and Steve are to marry as soon as he obtains a divorce. With Judy's approval, Kay goes to London to introduce herself to Steve. Although she is impressed with Steve's intelligence and forthright manner, the astute Kay quickly determines that Steve is still in love with his wife, a famous and gifted concert pianist. After Steve describes the fiery arguments that he and his equally passionate wife had over music and painting, Kay carefully points out that Judy shall never challenge him in such a manner, for she is not educated in the arts and her tastes are quite simple. Later that afternoon, Judy returns home in tears, angrily accusing Kay of causing Steve to end their relationship. Kay attempts to console Judy, gently explaining that although Steve truly loved Judy's freshness and youth, the war caused him to lose sight of the deeper and more abiding love he shared with his wife. When Judy fails to understand, Kay alludes to the feelings she shared with Spike during wartime, and then reads Judy a recent letter from Spike, in which he describes how Kay inspired him with a new understanding of his love for his wife. At last comprehending her mother's actions, Judy embraces Kay and, after drying her tears, agrees to accompany Kay and Clem to a village dance that evening. At the party, Clem offers Tom an apprenticeship at his architectural firm, and Judy happily dances with the young man. At last feeling that everything will work out for the best, Kay breaks the news of her illness to Clem, who plunges into a deep despair, unable to imagine how the family can carry on without her. Kay dies that winter, but not before seeing Judy married to Tom in a beautiful autumn wedding. Four years later, Tom and Judy are sharing the Minivers' former bedroom and caring for Clem and young Toby, with Kay's spirit living on through their love for one another.