Song For marion

Art & Culture

There is a good film in here trying to get out, but it hasn’t made it to the surface.
I would like to be positive about Song For Marion, an English film that owes a lot to the documentary Young At Heart., but I simply can’t do it. Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) is an older woman who is dying. Her main pleasure in life is her choir, composed of old people, which sings rock songs and is led by the saintly Gemma Arterton (also to be seen in Byzantium). Her husband Arthur (Terence Stamp) is devoted to her, but also controlling and grumpy, and unable to connect with son Christopher Eccleston. And there you have it. A premise which has only one way to go, and that’s the life-affirming, uplifting tear-jerking path which is a) dull, b) implausible and c) predictable. The music is as always the clue, ladled on to emphasise the emotions we’re meant to feel. The portrayal of older people is patronising, and the only saving grace is Redgrave who rises above the dross with a performance that is perfection. The woman is a genius.

Philip Raby
Front Row Films

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