Song For Marion
Dramas about love, loss and self-discovery through music have become all too familiar to British film and TV audiences, from Brassed Off, the documentary Young@Heart through to X Factor.
Rarely though has the format been so skillfully delivered as in this winning new film by Paul Andrew Williams, which, after a wave of international festival appearances, seems destined to be one of the crossover hits of spring 2013.
Arthur (Terence Stamp) is a grumpy old man, fixed in his routines and incapable of any form of emotional expression to either his son (Christopher Eccleston) or his terminally ill wife Marion (Vanessa Redgrave), who, in stark contrast, embraces life as a member of a local community choir led enthusiastically by Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). When Marion’s health takes a turn for the worse, Arthur is forced to confront his suppressed feelings and grudgingly accepts encouragement from the choir to find his own voice.
With terrific, natural performances from Stamp, Redgrave and Arterton, Song for Marion manages to avoid the clichés of the genre – no overplayed histrionics or SuBo style revelation of an undiscovered talent here – and instead offers a deeply moving, life affirming tale rooted in recognisable characters and the everyday.