Song for Marion
Sentimental British drama about an OAP choir, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp
This British drama, starring acting stalwarts Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp aims to be a universal story about the importance of family but ends up being a nauseatingly sentimental weepy. Directed by Paul Andrew Williams, who previously received critical acclaim for London to Brighton, and shocked a few cinema-goers with his violent thriller Cherry Tree Lane, Song for Marion is something of a departure for the filmmaker.
The premise is simple: Arthur (Stamp) is an old, bitter man looking after his sick wife Marion (Redgrave). Despite her illness she finds enjoyment from being part of a local community choir lead by young music teacher Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). As Marion takes a turn for the worse, Arthur finds himself more and more attracted to the choir that Marion so loves. And behold, on the horizon is a competition that just might be the hurdle that grumpy Arthur needs to face in order to come to terms with his family struggles.
Where other films might have broken out of their cliched premise, Song for Marion never does. It’s sentimental to the extreme and doesn’t so much try to tug at the heart strings as take a heavy duty chain to them; opting for cheap emotional reactions rather than trying to grasp something more truthful. Despite a cast of iconic British talent the dialogue often feels hollow and the only humour comes from tired and contrived jokes about OAPs singing and dancing to pop songs. Die hard weepy fans might find catharsis in the amount of tears that flow but for the rest of us, it’s one to avoid.
Song for Marion screened at London Film Festival. It’s on general release from Feb 2013.