So we don’t have “every” war movie–but we go through seasons of “being able” to watch them and avoiding them at all costs. Can you relate? These are a few reasons why we feel that way…
1. We hate how they remind us of the realities our husbands face.
Every Army wife knows her husband could (or in some positions, will) face a dangerous situation. We know that deployments are an inevitable part of the job. But we try not to spend our days thinking about that. During our non-deployment seasons of life, we try not to live in fear of the what-could-be future. That isn’t to say we pretend it isn’t going to happen. But we choose to not live in fear. Our husbands live out life with courage, and so do we. Watching a movie that centers around the possibilities our loved one could face (or has already faced) are sometimes an unnecessary “reality check” we don’t appreciate.
2. We hate how accurate they are.
I know not all movies are accurate–by any stretch of the imagination. But there are war movies that really nail one aspect or another of combat, deployment, high stress situations, etc. Once again, we know it exists. Many of our husbands have lived through that, and in a different way, we have lived a tiny part of it through them. Getting an extremely vivid experience of something that is a reality for us hits home in a tough way. It’s not entertainment, it’s just a visually aggressive portrayal of something we already think, feel, or experienced.
3. We hate how inaccurate they are.
There is nothing more annoying than a movie which attempts to display the accomplishments of the US Army, the feelings of a soldier, or the relationship in an Army family–and completely falls flat. Sometimes it’s borderline disrespectful. Most of the time though it’s just irritating. Okay, maybe some points are laughable, considering how wrong they get it! But really, with so many civilians who can’t even fathom the rhythm of the Army and the experiences of our families, it’s nothing short of frustrating to have our lives and our soldier’s accomplishments smeared across the screen in some kind of attempt at vainglory or Hollywood cheese.
4. We hate watching the wife and children cope and struggle because it is all too familiar.
Some things really get to you on a mental level. You see a soldier saying goodbye to his comrade in a fast-paced, sweaty, all-too-soon 3o second interval. And you look over at your soldier and can’t help but wonder who he is thinking of. Did he go through that with a battle buddy, or does he sometimes think of saying goodbye to you? You get caught in a mental struggle. But then to see a wife or her children attempt to make it through the emotional trauma of war and separation hits you on another level. It’s no longer a mental struggle. You are engaged emotionally in the movie as you literally watch your own thoughts and feelings pulled across the screen. You feel worn out and drained. The hour or two you spend watching her world fall apart, pulls at the emotional balance of yours for that short period of time. You have been there, and you just can’t help but feel so many of those feelings all over again.
5. We hate war movies because it’s way too “everyday” to be called entertainment for us.
Okay so for most Army families, war movies are not a script of their lives. But still, we spend all day living on post, washing uniforms, and cooking dinner alone: living-sleeping-breathing the Army. Which don’t exactly mind. But when it’s time to settle down for some entertainment, we don’t want to watch more Army stuff! It’s time to break out the RomComs or family flicks! This is definitely a personal preference thing–but I don’t see how something that’s all business for us can become a form of entertainment, no matter how appealing the scenery or soundtrack is. It’s kind of like watching a movie about running 500 errands on a Saturday, when that’s your current weekend routine!
6. We hate the reception war movies get by the civilian public.
The only thing more annoying than an inaccurate movie, is a glowing reception from the public about how “moving” and “great” a cheesy war movie is. On the flip side, it’s also just as upsetting to watch an “accurate” war movie, and hear the public tear the military to pieces because of the exposure they happened to glimpse. Either way, it can be pretty upsetting to read reviews about war movies. Almost as upsetting as watching them ourselves…
Did I miss something, Army wives? What is it that you don’t like about war movies? Or if you’re in a season of watching them, please share a comment below about how you’re feeling when watching! Thanks for reading and come back soon!