You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Song for Marion

A sentimental tearjerker targeted at the over-50s who made "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" a box office hit, "Song for Marion" centers on an elderly curmudgeon caring for his ailing wife, who joins the community choir for her sake.

With: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston, Orla Hill.

A sentimental tearjerker targeted at the over-50s who made “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” a box office hit (and already sold to some major territories, including the U.S.), “Song for Marion” centers on an elderly curmudgeon caring for his ailing wife, who joins the community choir for her sake. This formulaic dramedy marks a change of pace for U.K. helmer-writer Paul Andrew Williams (gritty realist thriller “London to Brighton”), here working with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Luckily, Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, with Christopher Eccleston as their son, wring maximum emotional resonance from the frequently clunky script.

In small-town, working-class northern England, gloomy Arthur (Stamp) does his best to make life easy for his cancer-stricken mate, Marion (Redgrave), a cheerful, outgoing soul. Their auto mechanic son James (Eccleston) drops by when he is able, often with his sweet, 8-year-old daughter (Orla Hill) in tow, but he doesn’t relish the constant tongue-lashings he receives from his bitter, critical father.

Arthur worries that Marion is wasting time and energy with her senior singing group, although he clearly sees the enjoyment she derives from it. The choir is presided over by perky young music teacher Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton), who dubs them the OAPZ — that is, Old Age Pensioners with a rap-style plural, a moniker typical of the pic’s rather lame humor.

Elizabeth delights in giving the group arrangements of heavy metal and hip-hop material to perform along with golden oldies. When she enters the OAPZ in a national choir competition, it paves the way for more predictable plot twists in the pic’s second half during which Arthur transforms from bitter codger to better, open-hearted man with the help of Elizabeth’s determined meddling.

Lazily generic (very little is defined about the setting or characters’ backgrounds), Williams’ overly contrived script borrows aspects of the crowdpleasing docu “Young at Heart,” the plucky, underdog vibe of “The Full Monty” and the cliched grumpy-to-agreeable evolution that seems to be standard treatment for the elderly in most commercial comedies. The deeply loving bonds between Arthur and Marion, and Arthur’s fraught relationship with their son, rep the pic’s most affecting elements.

In what is essentially a four-hander, the oldsters in the choir are relegated to wafer-thin caricatures. Their performances of “Ace of Spades” and “Let’s Talk About Sex” and attempts to dance the Robot are exploited for cheap laughs. Meanwhile, the production numbers in which Marion and Arthur solo are milked into multi-hanky moments.

Bland-looking production package gives the feeling that most of the budget went to performers fees and music clearances.

Song for Marion


Production: An Entertainment One Films (in Canada)/Weinstein Co. (in U.S.) release of a Steel Mill Pictures, Coolmore Prods., Aegis Film Fund, Film House Germany, Egoli Tossell film. (International sales: Entertainment One Films Intl., Toronto.) Produced by Ken Marshall, Philip Moross. Co-producers, Jens Meurer, Rachel Dargavel. Directed, written by Paul Andrew Williams.

Crew: Camera (color), Carlos Catalan; editor, Dan Farrell; music, Laura Rossi; music supervisors, Matt Biffa ; Maggie Rodford; production designer, Sophie Becher; art director, Keith Slote; costume designer, Jo Thompson; sound (Dolby Digital), Srdjan Kurpjel; casting directors, Buffy Hall, Vicky Wildman. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (closer), Sept. 11, 2012. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston, Orla Hill.

More Film

  • Abominable Animated Movie

    Vietnam Pulls DreamWorks’ 'Abominable' Over Contested Territorial Claims

    Vietnam has banned DreamWorks Animation’s new co-produced feature “Abominable” from its cinemas due to a scene involving a map that depicts China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The move comes as U.S. entertainment firms like the NBA, Disney and gaming firm Activision Blizzard are under intense fire from US fans, activists and [...]

  • The Captain

    China Box Office: 'The Captain' Flies to $340 Million After Two Weeks on Release

    Patriotic thriller “The Captain” held on to the top spot at the Chinese box office for the second weekend, again leading from propaganda omnibus “My People, My Country.” “The Captain,” also known as “The Chinese Pilot” earned $34.9 million according to consultancy Artisan Gateway, for a two-week cumulative of $343 million. The cumulative for “People,” [...]

  • CGV movie theatre Seoul South KoreaCGV

    Korean Law To Limit Film Releasing Monopolies

    The Korean government is to make it illegal to show a single film on more than 50% of screens nationwide. The move is intended to prevent “screen monopolies by blockbuster films” and to “address unfair competition practices in the film industry.” The Ministry of Culture announced on Monday that it will revise the existing Promotion [...]

  • Jason Flemyng, Casting Director Lucinda Syson

    Jason Flemyng, Lucinda Syson Launch Film and TV Indie The Kernel Factory (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jason Flemyng, fellow actor Ben Starr, casting director Lucinda Syson, and finance expert Cristiano D’Urso are opening The Kernel Factory, a new U.K.-based film and TV indie. Flemyng has a long list of movie credits including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” and Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking [...]

  • Hache

    ‘Hache’ Creator, Director Discuss Netflix’s Next Spanish Original, Dropping Nov. 1

    MADRID — On Nov 1 Netflix will drop its fifth Spanish original series, 1960’s-set drug smuggling drama “Hache,” produced by Madrid’s Weekend Studio for the platform. Created by Verónica Fernández and directed by Jorge Torregrossa (“La vida inesperada,” “Cocaine Coast,” “Velvet Collection”), “Hache” tells the story of Helena (Adriana Ugarte), a prostitute who ends up [...]

  • Argentina Film Lab

    Argentina to Build Country’s First Film Restoration Laboratory in Buenos Aires

    Argentina’s Instituto Nacional de Cinematografia y las Artes Audiovisuals (INCAA) and the Ministry of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires will partner to build Argentina’s first laboratory of film preservation. Minister of Culture Enrique Avogadro and INCAA president Ralph Haiek signed the agreement which will see Buenos Aires’ Pablo Ducrós Hicken Film Museum in [...]

  • The-Ancient-Law

    Lumière Festival’s MIFC Broadens International Spotlight with Focus on Germany

    The 7th Lumière Film Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) is expanding its international scope this year with more foreign companies than ever before taking part in the event, high-profile guests and an examination of Germany’s heritage cinema sector. With 17 international firms from 25 countries at the event, the MIFC has reported a 20% [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content