Film Review: Song for Marion

by Graham Adams / 09 May, 2013
Song for Marion

Directed by Paul Andrew Williams

While ad agencies and TV execs continue to ignore their cashed- up, free-spending older viewers, the film industry knows a willing market when it sees one, and is busily producing a string of feel-good movies aimed at the post-60 crowd. Recently we’ve seen The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (starring 78-year-olds Maggie Smith and Judi Dench); Quartet (Billy Connolly, 70; Michael Gambon, 72), Performance (Christopher Walken, 70), and now Song for Marion (Terence Stamp, 74; Vanessa Redgrave, 75).

Song for Marion is essentially a fictionalised version of 2008’s Young@Heart, with the same pathos inherent in that hit doco about an elderly choir’s struggles to succeed. Writer/director Paul Andrew Williams’ formulaic tear-jerker is centred on Marion (Redgrave), who is dying of cancer, and her shy, gruff husband, Arthur (Stamp), who finds her participation in a local talent quest choir to be demeaning and pointless.

Nevertheless, he is a devoted husband, and indulges Marion by picking her up after each session and tending to her when the effort of getting to and from practice is too much for her. He is far less indulgent, however, of his fortysomething son James (Christopher Eccleston), against whom who he harbours some unspecified grudge, and only sees him at all because of his love for his young granddaughter.

The plot develops exactly in the way you would imagine it might, with the inevitable singing contest rounding out the film’s 93 minutes of schmaltz. But Redgrave gives such a flawless performance as the dying Marion that it’s easy to forgive such shameless sentimentality. Terence Stamp is a little wooden as Arthur (he has confessed in interviews that it was a struggle for him to play a character beaten down by old age) but he’s still charismatic despite his advancing years.

The most likeable character — and the one who provides a welcome antidote to the depressing plight of the aged leads — is Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton), who tutors the choir and whose youthful enthusiasm, disarming honesty and obvious care for her elderly songbirds infects the film and eventually wins over even gloomy Arthur. Song for Marion may be schmaltzy but it’s affecting. If you’re prone to weeping, bring plenty of tissues.
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

A film fest, a stage classic and other highlights on Auckland's agenda
71779 2017-04-28 00:00:00Z What's on

A film fest, a stage classic and other highlights …

by India Hendrikse

What’s on in Auckland: Crystal Castles, a design and architecture film festival and lots of other excellent events to put in your diary

Read more
How do New Zealanders rank as philanthropists?
71583 2017-04-28 00:00:00Z Business

How do New Zealanders rank as philanthropists?

by Sally Blundell

Kiwis take little persuasion to give to a good cause, but the demands are ever-growing. How much money gets to where it’s really needed?

Read more
The fitness industry is on the eve of digital disruption
71733 2017-04-28 00:00:00Z Technology

The fitness industry is on the eve of digital disr…

by Peter Griffin

As technology changes the way we do business, the effects are extending from the office to most parts of our lives – including how we keep in shape.

Read more
Everything's shipshape: A visit to a Viking ship burial
71738 2017-04-28 00:00:00Z Travel

Everything's shipshape: A visit to a Viking ship b…

by Heather Whelan

Ladby is Denmark’s only ship grave; it is also the only place in the world where a Viking ship burial can be visited.

Read more
Women in tech: Why the industry needs to fix its gender problem
71822 2017-04-27 15:48:38Z Technology

Women in tech: Why the industry needs to fix its g…

by Max Towle

Just under one in three IT grads in 2015 were women. But it’s not quite translating to the industry.

Read more
We shouldn't forget immigration is cyclical, too
71818 2017-04-27 15:21:44Z Social issues

We shouldn't forget immigration is cyclical, too

by The Listener

As we debate the “Goldilocks” size of our population, it's timely to remember that only five short years ago NZ was lamenting its net migration loss.

Read more
Who’s the We? Maori, Pakeha and an anthem's bonds of love
71511 2017-04-27 00:00:00Z History

Who’s the We? Maori, Pakeha and an anthem's bonds …

by North & South

'In the bonds of love we meet', goes our anthem. But who's the 'we'? Do modern histories focus too much on a clash between Maori and Pakeha?

Read more
Kaye expects 'healthy debate' over Te Reo in schools
71629 2017-04-27 00:00:00Z Currently

Kaye expects 'healthy debate' over Te Reo in schoo…

by RNZ

Any extension of teaching Te Reo in schools would depend on whether the resources are available for it, the incoming Education Minister says.

Read more