Movie review: Song for Marion

By Sarah Lang

Gemma Arterton in 'A Song For Marion'. Photo / Supplied
Gemma Arterton in 'A Song For Marion'. Photo / Supplied

This British dramedy squanders its fine actors. Vanessa Redgrave plays Marion, an outgoing cancer patient determined to stay in the local choir. Fellow screen legend Terence Stamp plays her curmudgeonly, devoted husband Arthur, who forms an unlikely friendship with choirmistress Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). Like the 2007 documentary Young at Heart, Song for Marion shows an elderly choir gaining joy and community through singing.

Like Amour, it shows a husband caring for a dying wife, but we see very little of Marion's suffering, as you'd expect from a wannabe crowd-pleaser.

Despite a few tear-jerker moments, many more are cliched, cloying, condescending and cringeworthy. Scenes showing the pensioners rehearsing rock-star expressions and Let's Talk About Sex are, frankly, patronising plays for cheap laughs, as is the geriatric hitting on the geeky judge; what's more, none of this is funny. The father-and-son-don't-get-on storyline is a time-filler and the Elizabeth-is-hopeless-with-men digression doesn't go anywhere.

But we see plenty of mawkish sentimentalism triumphing over English emotional reserve.

Stamp, who delivers his laconic, self-deprecating lines beautifully, makes Arthur's transition to self-awareness believable - but only just - as the morality tale peters out into formulaic schmaltz.

Stars: 2/5
Cast: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Eccleston, Gemma Arterton, Anne Reid, Calita Rainford
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Running time: 93 mins
Rating: PG

Song for Marion is out now.

- Herald on Sunday

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