Song for Marion

Song for Marion

(2012)

Set in London, this geriatric comedy drama stars Terence Stamp as a shy, grumpy pensioner who is reluctantly inspired by his beloved wife (Vanessa Redgrave) to join a highly unconventional local choir led by Gemma Arterton.... More

At odds with his son James (Christopher Eccleston), it is up to Elizabeth (Arterton) to try and persuade Arthur (Stamp) that he can learn to embrace life, using music as a way to battle his grumbling persona.Hide

Flicks Review

Retire to another cinema if you don’t fancy giving your tear ducts a work-out. That’s what Terence Stamp’s curmudgeonly Arthur would do in Song For Marion, a film striving to match the success of Quartet, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and, by virtue of its esteemed older cast, The King’s Speech. Even those who find the story’s central choir, the OAPz, (Old-Age Pensioners) cloying will find it hard not to suppress the waterworks. This is one film that’s equal parts moving and grating.... More

Director Paul Andrew Williams, whose previous films are much edgier (London to Brighton and Cherry Tree Lane) leads us dangerously close to sentimentality without overstepping the line. That’s mostly thanks to Stamp, who’s supposed to be the curmudgeon but, depending on your cynicism levels, may be closer to your idea of the hero. It’s also thanks to the loveable Vanessa Redgrave as Arthur’s wife, Marion, who won’t let her terminal illness get in the way of enjoying what she has left.

Despite their finely tuned performances – and that of Arthur’s estranged son, played by Christopher Eccelston – the film relies on the kind of humour that’s done its day. We’ve all seen comedies where older people say rude or “outrageous” things; here our cringe-worthy choir perform Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s Let’s Talk About Sex and try to get angry on the metal tracks. Quite rightly, it’s not Arthur’s cup of tea.

So not a film for the cynics but one for older folk, perhaps, who don’t mind being patronised. The biggest offender is Gemma Arterton, whose pretty choir leader inexplicably can’t get a boyfriend, has no friends her own age and is intent on teaching her elderly crew street slang. While there’s nothing wrong with a safe tear-jerker per se, Song for Marion suggests that its target market can’t stomach much more than that. Which I, and my Nana, know is not true.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

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BY delarge101 superstar

I don't know which was made first and which countries got them first, but if you've seen one 'Quartet', you've seen them all, right?

'Song for Marion' follows Arthur (Terence Stamp), a miserable old lump who is the husband to Marion (Redgrave), a terminally ill old lady who still likes to participate in her local senior's choir. We all know that Marion's health isn't going to improve, as does Arthur, and he begins to take part in the choir himself to please his dying wife.

The film isn't... More without its pleasures. There are a few laughs to be had with the rather nutty choir, as they sing through rather mismatched but still humorous versions of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" and Salt-n-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex". Led by the beautiful Elizabeth (Arterton), the old dogs are more than happy to learn new tricks, as they sing and dance without a care, and is certainly enough to tug on your happy heartstrings. The choir practices are what give you the facetious laughs amongst the melodrama, and without them we feel like we are watching the elderly version of "My Sister's Keeper".

The synopsis itself should just scream "spoiler" to anybody with half a brain. Sadly, I was unable to feel the tribulation the movie was trying to make me feel, as there is no surprise to it; no shock or impact. We are told that Marion has a horrible disease (cancer) from the get-go, and we also find out how long she has to live. I didn't feel heartbroken or sorrowful as we only see Marion at her good times, not her worst. In fact, Marion is shown to be happy, energetic old woman, and we are never able to feel empathy for her or Arthur, as the Marion character isn't studied enough and we aren't fully aware of her condition or her struggle.

The acting is sufficient enough. Stamp seems to be genuinely grumpy (maybe because his career is coming to an end, but he had a good run), and provides a few laughs with his reluctance to enjoy anything. Arterton is lovely and vibrant, and it's very nice to hear her natural English accent. Christopher Eccleston and Vanessa Redgrave competent enough to add the elements of a dismembered family, even though their performances aren't punchy or passionate enough to fully express the bleakness I wanted to feel.

'Song for Marion' is simple, sporadically funny and upsetting; yet unoriginal and conventional. The elderly will be able to relate, but younger viewers should stay well away.Hide


BY freshdude superstar

Writer/director Paul Andrew Williams did his market study very well. Obviously aiming to cash up on the grey dollars, it is a safe, flat ... dare I say it, boring film, but the audience it is aimed at loves it. Most want safe, easy watching fluff ... and that's what they're getting here.
I want cinematic experience ... in my opinion this should have gone straight to DVD.

Terrence Stamp does the grumpy old man very well but it's not sufficient to satisfy amongst the over predictable plot,... More dreadful singing and all round forgettable film.Hide


The Press Reviews

  • With Redgrave on top form and the story's moving take on devotion in the face of death, your tear ducts will be powerless to resist. Full Review

  • Grit-meister Paul Andrew Williams switches to the key of C major for a commercial crowdpleaser about a seniors' choir. Full Review

  • Redgrave and Stamp have a touching, mismatched chemistry, and in their hands the marriage described in Williams's script feels lived-in and real. Full Review

  • Too emotionally manipulative, but not without its moments of real tenderness and warmth. Full Review

  • There may be the odd bum note but Williams' film is largely on song and full of genuine, heartfelt emotion. Stamp's masterclass in melancholy is something to behold. Full Review

  • A sentimental tearjerker targeted at the over-50s who made "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" a box office hit. Full Review

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