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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Song for Marion/ Unfinished Song

Just a quick one to close out the week.

It's kind of strange that after having written nearly three thousand words on Man of Steel, a film that I didn't even like, I have so little to say on the genuinely wonderful Song for Marion. It is one of those films though, that really speaks for itself and doesn't need me waffling on for a half dozen pages about how great it is.

The story focuses on Arthur (Terence Stamp), an old curmudgeon, who tries to find meaning in his life after his beloved wife (Vanessa Redgrave) finally succumbs to cancer by taking her place in the singing class where she spent so many of her final days. Despite his wife's obvious love for the singing group, while she was alive, Arthur had little patience for what he saw as a collection of old fogies embarrassingly desperate to hang onto their youth but with his wife gone, his days empty and his relationship with his estranged son, James (Christopher Eccleston) more fraught than ever, he is convinced by the class's beautiful, young teacher, Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) to not only participate in their classes but to join the group in a singing competition.

Relationships are forged, frayed and fixed; tears are spilled; laughs are had and an uplifting ending is all but guaranteed but it doesn't matter how familiar this all feels or how predictable its plot is, Song for Marion is simply a delight from beginning to end that features sterling performances (sung or otherwise) from its top-drawer cast and is heartbreaking, funny and joyous in equal turns. It is sentimental but I think it earns its sentiment and is less mawkish than unabashedly heartfelt.

The cynical and the cold-hearted need not apply but if you enjoyed, to any degree, films like Quartet, The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel or, most especially, The Concert, Song for Marion is a must-see. I really can't recommend it enough. 

Incidentally, if you like Song for Marion be sure to check out the similarly-themed documentary Young@Heart, which is not only every bit as moving and as funny but also features a heartbreakingly beautiful cover of Coldplay's Fix You that utterly destroys the original.

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