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 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.
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