Grumpy pensioner Arthur honors his recently deceased wife's passion for performing by joining the unconventional local choir to which she used to belong, a process that helps him build bridges with his estranged son, James.
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"Song for Marion", a London-set comedic drama, is about shy, grumpy pensioner Arthur who is reluctantly inspired by his beloved wife Marion to join a highly unconventional local choir. At odds with his son James, it is left to charismatic choir director Elizabeth to try and persuade Arthur that he can learn to embrace life. Arthur must confront the undercurrents of his own grumbling persona as he embarks on a hilarious, life-affirming journey of musical self discovery. Written by
It's another movie about old people, (there have been so many recently) with an amazing cast and a storyline that tugs at the heartstrings and makes terrible faults bearable. Yep, Unfinished Song (released in the UK as Song for Marion) is a must-see, a nostalgic look back at a life we all share, filled with successes and regrets, that in the end is filled with the gray we all have in our own lives.
When we left the movie, my cousin Gary, a man of few words, indicated that he hadn't loved it. "It took me on too many rides," he said. "Happy, sad, mad, up and down, over and over. It was too much." The stories of our lives are sometimes too much, and the three months or so that we travel during Unfinished Song is a roller-coaster through all of it: missteps, loss, laughter, success. Gary's right, it's tough to take. But it's worth the ride. Just don't make plans for after you see it.
And the acting. Oh my God, the acting.
What is there to say about Vanessa Redgrave that hasn't been said? I think I've found something. Her body is old. Really old. And she wore it unabashedly, exposing herself and her oldness without one ounce of self- consciousness unlike my friends and I, who find ourselves embarrassed to be aging around one another. I admire her. I am grateful for the lesson. Watch her in the opening scene, when she is singing with her choir-mates. Watch her body move, and ask yourself if you would let yours do the same in public.
Terrance Stamp. Who knew sir? Well done. Vanessa is not the star; you are. You embody all the qualities of that sons-of-WWII generation, who never quite learned to wear your feelings on your sleeves, let alone utter a word that might make you vulnerable. And you can sing? You should get kudos for this performance, although you won't because no movies that play in June and July ever do. I will give you an award, however, and I hope to see you at the Globes and the Academy Awards next February.
Billy Joel wrote "Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)" a lovely lullaby for his daughter, Alexa, which I downloaded and listened to years and years ago. It's the song our Arthur sings to his departed wife, about their departed life, and I love that song more now than I did then. Listen to it. Listen to the words and dare to hope that you might have someone you would like to sing it to.
Unfinished Song is a movie that has music, not to be confused with a musical. And if you want to cry, or you want to think about what you might want to fix now rather than waiting until later, take a trip to the theater and watch this beautifully directed film.
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