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
How did they pitch this? QUARTET meets CALENDAR GIRLS? Vanessa Redgrave plays a Senior Citizen (in the north of England) dying from cancer who somehow finds the strength to sing with a local choir of fellow OAPs. Her grumpy old git of a husband (Terence Stamp) wants her to stay home and greet the Grim Reaper while he (Arthur) tenderly cares for her, but
guess what? The sub-plot involving Arthur and his estranged son
(Christopher Eccleston) is over-familiar but also touching - he even has a cute smarty-pants daughter cloned from Shirley Temple.
OK, this is a very predictable story which shamelessly milks tears from the audience, but there is some pleasing humour as well as the somewhat heavy-handed tragedy. The performances - what did you expect from Redgrave and Stamp? - are nothing less than stellar. I see nominations for BAFTAs and maybe even next year's Oscars. Stamp gives perfectly judged grief. Gemma Arterton is excellent as the choir-mistress with an unhappy love life and it's a joy to see Anne Reid in the chorus line. All the supporting cast of yesteryear character players are splendid, as they were in QUARTET. Pensioner power is beginning to have an impact at the box office - about time too!
This is lightweight entertainment pitched at the Grey Pound and it is outrageously mawkish, but it sets out to warm the stoniest of hearts and it certainly warmed mine.
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