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

Polina – movie review
76492 2017-07-20 00:00:00Z Movies

Polina – movie review

by Russell Baillie

A young dancer turns her back on the Bolshoi Ballet to study modern moves in Polina.

Read more
New Zealand International Film Festival: Metro's top picks of what to see
76536 2017-07-20 00:00:00Z Movies

New Zealand International Film Festival: Metro's t…

by David Larsen

Whether you plan to see just a few of the movies in the film festival or dozens, you’ve got some decisions to make and Metro is here to help.

Read more
K Road's wahine tattooists: How they made their mark
76538 2017-07-20 00:00:00Z Arts

K Road's wahine tattooists: How they made their ma…

by Courtney Sina Meredith

From a lush studio on Karangahape Road, three women practise the art of tattooing.

Read more
How artist couple Liz Maw and Andrew McLeod work and live together
76594 2017-07-20 00:00:00Z Arts

How artist couple Liz Maw and Andrew McLeod work a…

by Julie Hill

Painters Liz Maw and Andrew McLeod share their personal and professional lives and are about to exhibit together

Read more
Why the creative duo behind TUR Studio is creating garments the old way
76619 2017-07-19 15:46:53Z Style

Why the creative duo behind TUR Studio is creating…

by Bianca Zander

The creative duo behind Auckland's TÜR Studio lives life as if the industrial revolution never happened.

Read more
Five fun spots perfect for a group outing
76580 2017-07-19 14:20:28Z Auckland Eats

Five fun spots perfect for a group outing

by Paperboy

Break the monotony of winter with a party at one of these five fun Auckland spots

Read more
What to see at the NZ International Film Festival
76576 2017-07-19 13:31:34Z Movies

What to see at the NZ International Film Festival

by Paperboy

Film buffs Caroline Montague and Alexander Bisley pick apart the NZ International Film Festival programme.

Read more
Three Auckland food pop-ups you won't want to miss
76571 2017-07-19 13:04:40Z Auckland Eats

Three Auckland food pop-ups you won't want to miss…

by Paperboy

Merediths, Culprit and Orphans Kitchen take on guest chefs and unusual ingredients at three pop-up events.

Read more