This is a ‘feel-good’ movie with accolades such as ‘Wonderful and heart-warming’ and ‘A film to fall in love with’.
Song for Marion is a small British film that’s all about character.
Grumpy pensioner Arthur (Terence Stamp!) is distressed by the ailing condition of his wife Marion (Vanessa Redgrave). One of Marion’s outlets is performing in the local choir, the OAPz, run by Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). It’s not really a spoiler, since the title gives it away: Marion is determined to perform in a choir competition, but unfortunately she dies before that can happen. Arthur shuts himself off from the world, won’t talk to his estranged son (Christopher Eccleston), and wants to grieve in his own way.
Stamp shows in his minimalist acting how to deliver a character with a broken heart who is incapable of seeking solace. Elizabeth subtly worms her way into Arthur’s orbit and through guile and charm, she begins Arthur’s life affirming journey, a journey that is at times amusing, often poignant, and beautifully told. The acting honours are shared equally by Redgrave, Arterton and Stamp; he’s a revelation.
This could so easily have been Hollywood schmaltz, but instead it’s grounded and sensitive. Music is the international language, the language of love, indeed.
Worth keeping a tissue or two to hand.
Footnote: revealed in the credits: surprisingly, although the film is set in London, it was mainly filmed in Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham.
Released 2013, 90 minutes run-time