DIR/WRI: Paul Andrew Williams • PRO: Philip Moross • DOP: Carlos Catalán • ED: Dan Farrell • DES: Sophie Becher • CAST: Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston, Terence Stamp
The market for the ‘Grey Pound’, as the over 60s cinema goers are so delicately referred to as, has gained more attention from film marketers in recent years. With the film industry struggling to make revenues in the modern download era, any group that will attend the cinemas regularly are rapidly being catered for. This is good news for both older cinema goers who want to see issues they care about tackled on film and older actors who struggle to find meaty roles. Recent films The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet are successful examples of this genre. Song for Marion certainly ticks all the boxes of a ‘Grey Pound’ film, with the majority of the cast in the over 60 age bracket. It tells the story of Marion (Vanessa Redgrave), an optimistic woman in the autumn of her life striving to live her last days with all the joy she can fit in.
Marion is a member of an unconventional choir who, guided by the young teacher Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton), enjoy performing alternative songs in their community hall. The more gripping story of this film is that of Marion’s husband Arthur (Terence Stamp) who is the opposite of his wife; a classic grumpy old man who belittles her choir and lively friends, while still caring for her in her illness with the sweetness of a life-long love. Arthur’s struggles are played with a deep emotional tenderness and strength by Terence Stamp, especially when we see his approach to the different relationships in his life.
Stamp and Redgrave’s acting capabilities make this film stand out and they bring a much needed touch of reality to the roles, which should attract all viewers to the film, not just the specific target market. Song for Marion is definitely on the sentimental side and wraps the ending up into a fairly neat and predictable package, but the strong acting of the leads ensures we care about these characters and their story.
Ailbhe O Reilly
PG (see IFCO website for details)
Song for Marion is released on 22nd February 2013