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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.
I am 16 years old and therefore someone who should typically prefer
Pitch Perfect to a movie starring pensioners. And I loved Pitch
Perfect. But Pitch Perfect only made me laugh. Not cry. I prefer movies
that do both. And this film was one of those. One minute I was roaring
with laughter and the next my mum rushed into the room wondering if I'd
broken my ankle. This is probably the most fantastic movies of all
time, and certainly the most underrated. A story about family, living
life to the full and trying out something new -- life might just
surprise you. I now feel so much better about life -- I know not to get
anything for granted, particularly life, and even if people laugh at
me, so what if they're laughing at me for doing something I enjoy?
Great acting from Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher
Eccleston and Gemma Arterton. Other members of cast portrayed
convincing characters too.
So if you haven't seen this movie, I recommend you watch it now. If you're 45, ask a 12 year old and a 90 year old to watch it too...I'm sure it'll be smiles all round.
I was lucky enough to have free tickets for the preview screening. To
be honest, if it wasn't for free, this movie would not have been a
movie that I would choose to pay to watch. I am 24 and I don't think I
would be interested in watching a movie starring with some oldies but I
was totally wrong and I am so glad that I had gone to watch this movie.
AND I WILL PAY TO WATCH THIS AGAIN!
This movie has a very simple storyline, but this story relates to all of us somehow. Many of us have had loved one(s) passed away and surely the hardship and grievance that Arthur has been through is not new to us. And the troubled relationship between the father and son.
It is this simple story with just good acting. It will make you cry! Not because of sadness but because of love. I don't see many people without a tissue wiping their eyes and noses during the movie. And this is what good movie does to you!
Please go and see this movie. You wont regret it.
In his directorial debut Paul Andrew Williams gave us an impressive,
gritty and bleak crime film, London to Brighton a film shot in just
19 days on a budget of £19,000. In his latest work he goes on the
complete other end of the spectrum to deliver us a heart-warming
comedy-drama, Song for Marion. When looking at its exterior, most would
easily jump to labeling it a sentimental film which it's one motive is
to get you blubbering. It certainly succeeds in getting you to shed
tears, but this is through the film's well developed relationships
between the characters, especially that of Marion (Vanessa Redgrave)
and Arthur (Terence Stamp). Marion is terminally ill and is cared for
by her grumpy husband, Arthur he reluctantly helps fulfil her wishes
to attend local OAP choir sessions headed by a young music teacher,
Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). But of course as Marion's health begins to
fade, Arthur finds himself becoming more and more desperate about the
inevitable prospect of being alone without his beloved wife. This
prompts him to become more involved in the choir's sessions, which
builds up to the group's entry into a national choir competition a
beat very much in the vein of the 1996 film, Brassed Off.
The on-screen chemistry between Redgrave and Stamp is heart-wrenching; it's hard to fight back those tears as the two comfort one another during Marion's final months. But it's when Arthur finally confesses to Marion that he's scared about being without her that I finally let the tears subside it's just beautiful stuff. Redgrave's singing performance of True Colours and Stamp's final belting delivery of Goodnight My Darling will also leave you and the theatre audience in a quiver of snivels. But on the side there is very funny and touching moments with the choir themselves which mix in well to not make you an emotional wreck for the majority of the film. Christopher Eccleston is effective on the sidelines as Arthur and Marion's son who struggles to bond with his stone-walled father. I felt Eccleston was slightly underused, but nonetheless enjoyable in the scenes he had; meanwhile Arterton is sweet and caring as Elizabeth, who tries hard to break down Arthur's cold exterior in order to get him involved with the choir.
This is a splendid British picture Paul Andrew Williams proves here that he can tackle pretty much any genre, and if you take a look at his other genre films, you'll see that the man certainly has the knack He's done horror, crime and now a beautiful British comedy-drama. The performances are splendid, the comedic and teary moments are balanced perfectly but ultimately what makes the film work is that it doesn't try to break you down into an emotional wreck, it merely presents its characters in situations; bonding, caring and helping one another through the tough times. This is the kind of British film we need more of you'll be walking out of the cinema with a warm smile on your face.
We had the choice of seeing this or Die Hard 27 or whatever we're up to now. Chose this & what a delight it turned out to be. A very simple story. A group of OAP's, sorry OAPz (It's more street!) are taught to sing current pop songs by a young music teacher and entered into a choir competition. Marion is a member of this choir but desperately ill with cancer and her grumpy husband tries to stop her going s he fears it is too much for her. I won't add any spoilers as to how the plot progresses. You will laugh, my wife cried for about an hour constantly and took out my handkerchief, it will tap into relationships and make you think about what you have yourself. It will ensure you never listen to 'Ace of spades' again! Terence Stamp, not a favourite actor of mine, was just brilliant and spot on with his grumpy old man performance. Vanessa Redgrave just gives a beautiful, touching master class. Christopher Eccleston is gritty as ever and Gemma Arterton as the plucky, strong willed young teacher just makes you smile throughout. The cast of the choir also all have their priceless moment. This may not be for everyone but there is something in it for everyone and although it may appeal to the older market, the message is equally strong for all age groups.
This film was the closing night gala of the Toronto International Film
Festival. It seems most of those were forgotten in past years but I
hope this one gets more attention.
The story is quite simple, a grumpy old man finds the love of his life dying from cancer. She is in a local choir, lead by a joyful young woman. But the man, Terrence Stamp, wants nothing to do with it. The film is somewhat stereotypical and he's the old man you'd expect to see, seemingly allergic to anything remotely close to happiness, unless it has to do with his wife. Even his own son doesn't seem to bring him joy. But as the film goes on, of course, he will find that there are things in life that make it worth living, and that accepting people in your life will make it worth all better.
I wish I could give this a 6.5. The movie isn't the greatest comedy of all time, but it's light and it's fun. The elderly people in the choir are cute but it seems they all happen to be really weird and want to dress up as rappers and sing about sex. Yes, you know how it ends. It could only end one way and you see it coming from the opening scenes.
The film could have been better, had it not been so typical. It could have been quite good, if the movie had explored the themes it barely grazed in the film, such as Stamp's relationship with his son. The film teaches you that it's never too late to make things right. But I'm thinking for some elements in this film it may have been.
The actors were good, I wish we'd seen more of Vanessa Redgrave but Terrence Stamp upheld the film from beginning to end and I thin it would have been a lot worse without him as the lead role. I guess he learnt to sing for the film and he was quite good, but if the movie hadn't stayed at the surface of the themes it explored, it might have made for a more touching ending.
Song for Marion won't blow you away by its originality. But if you can get past that, it can still make for an enjoyable film. Keep it for a rainy day and don't expect anything it doesn't promise.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Grumpy old Arthur (Terence Stamp) takes terminal cancer sufferer wife
Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) to weekly practice at her pensioner choir
even though he has little patience for it. But after Marion's death he
feels strangely drawn to it...
Carefully sold in the trailer as Britain's latest geriatric comedy, this is not a comedy at all. Yes, there are amusing moments, but most of them are in the trailer. And, although it is unashamedly sentimental, it isn't entirely a schmaltzy heartstring tugger, either.
It is a portrait of Arthur. All the joy in Arthur's life has come from Marion, who had enough for them both and for everyone else her life touched. Once she is gone, Arthur's morose nature leaves him stranded, incapable of connecting easily with others, and estranged from son James with whom he has never had an easy relationship. Perhaps the choir, and jaunty choir leader Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) will enable him to make those connections for himself.
I'll be honest, I have never greatly rated Terence Stamp. I have always felt that he has coasted on the back of his extraordinarily striking looks (still every bit as striking as he marches into his seventies) and that his performances have showed little variation, skill or technique. But here and without downplaying the wonderful support he gets from Redgrave, Arterton and Ecclestone he is superb. It helps that the part suits his "less is more" approach, but that is not to disparage the way that a small performance highlights big emotions. It is a subtle, wise and touching performance in a film which has no great truths to impart, but which always entertains nevertheless.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had guessed some of the plot just from the trailer, but don't let that put you off. There is much more to this film than I had guessed in advance. How well it does it is remarkable. It could have been trite, but the dialogue and the acting from Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton and Vanessa Redgrave turned this story into heart-warming and heart-breaking reality. Although only a small part, Christopher Ecclestone was also worth the admission price on his own. I am a true cynic when I detect attempts to get at my emotions, but this film is irresistible. My one gripe is probably something that probably ended up on the cutting room floor. The relationship between Elizabeth and Arthur changed too quickly. I reckon there had to be another scene in between Arthur's stubborn resistance and sodden Elizabeth's opening up on the doorstep. However that sudden discontinuity was soon forgotten. It might even do good for some families who see it.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house when we saw Unfinished Song tonight. It's a shame there were only about 50 people in the theater who got to see this gem of a film. Terrance Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave give Oscar caliber performances while Gemma Arterton just charms everybody (and she is incredibly beautiful without all the glamour make up that makes her look like every other starlet in her publicity photos posted here at IMDb). While the film certainly touches the heart of any baby boomer who sees it, I can't help but think that it will move anybody of any age who has a heart. I'm not going to suggest that it's one of the great films of the 21st Century, but it is a very entertaining and extremely moving film that is driven by its characters and story rather than mindless CGI etc. It's a welcome reprieve from a summer of lousy blockbusters. But bring some Kleenex because you'll need it, but in an ultimately happy way.
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