s o n g f o r m a r i o n
Paul Andrew Thomas
Terrence & Vanessa
Song for Marion has all the elements of being one giant cliche. That is manages to avoid that is a testament to some neat writing and some great performances, especially from the ever reliable Terrance Stamp. Even Gemma Arterton doesn't grate too much. A quick aside on the Arterton issue, I am what you might describe as quite a big Bond fan. You may spot where this is going. Long story short, Quantum of Solace was almost as big a disappointment as Prometheus and poor old Gemma stood out as a glaring example of all that was awful about that film. So apologies Gemma, it's nothing personal. Blame Bond.
We digress. Song for Marion tells the story of an outwardly awkward couple (Stamp and Redgrave), one enjoys life and spends her time socialising and singing in a local community group, the other spends his time sat outside waiting for the singing to end. The lively one has cancer and dies, the grumpy, awkward one has to come out from under his rock and face the world. And an audience.
The film succeeds because it is very much not Hollywood. Redgrave's cancer is brutal and her death is dealt with in a very matter of fact way. Yes Terrance has to get out there but he doesn't so much as embrace it as suffer it, as you might expect someone with his personality would. His relationship with Marion is shown as loving in private and you never once for a minute stop to think why they were together in the first place.
Stamp's relationship with his son could probably be a stronger part of the narrative, the issues are dealt with in an almost off-hand way, but it's still more realistic than you get in most movies. The film resists tying up all the loose ends in a big happy ending but does leave optimism floating around.
You're not going to spend hours pondering this one and it's unlikely to ever feature on a best film list but for an hour and half, it's perfectly charming and just about different enough to make an impression.