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4.5 out of 5 stars414
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 20 May 2014
This is pretty formulaic, but it is so well excellently done that my Mother of 76 said it was the best of its kind she had ever seen. In fact, I bought it for her as a birthday present and I would urge you to see this film as it is very moving (I watched it with her when I should have been going to catch my flight!). The acting is first class, the story is predictable, the delivery will enthrall you. Even as a hardened 'stiff upper lip' this film is guaranteed to touch you. This film is not the best film that you will see in your lifetime, but believe me (and trust the other favourable reviews), it will be one of the nicest!
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on 1 January 2014
For me, the strength of the film lies with the acting of three of the main characters, Stamp, Redgrave and Eccleston.

Nothing wrong with Gemma Arterton's acting but I felt she was miscast, or at least deserved greater depth from the screen writer. Arthur (Tramp) asks Gemma why she bothers with the choir when she could be out with her social life? I was asking myself the same question as she is bright, young, pretty and a very people's person? The question is sidestepped and there is no real answer. The film would have been strengthened by investing in a little more character development for her.

Also for the other OAPs in the choir. For example, Stamp's character, Arthur (who could grump for the Olympics), is abusive and abrupt with the choir. And yet they later unfalteringly and unanimously embrace him into their midst? A little more conflict here would have increased the credibility.

The finale is a little cheesy but heck, it's well done!

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and have to admit, some scenes did manage to bring a tear to my eye. So beware.
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on 8 July 2013
My husband thought it was OK but not his sort of film. It was rather emotional (and funny at times) and it would have been better watching it with my grown up daughter. It's only 90 mins long
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on 10 July 2013
I looked forward to this being released after seeing Quartet! It's nice to have humour more fitting to the older generation! Can't wait for ant sequels.
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on 5 March 2015
This film balances beautifully the tragedy of a mother’s passing, and the subsequent near break up of her family, with the irresistible good humour generated by a choir for older people.
Determined to sing to her last, the vivacious Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) holds together the various strands of the first half of the film: her withdrawn and devoted husband Arthur (Terence Stamp); her repressed and (by his father) undervalued son James (Christopher Eccleston) and the effervescent choir leader Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton).
The film is unusual in having such distinct halves to it: the first concluding with Vanessa Redgrave leading the choir in song, the second allowing Terence Stamp to do the same. In each case – for very different reasons - the impact is uplifting.
Song For Marion is remarkable for its ability to make cohere, so naturally, a series of opposing forces: the extrovert Marion versus the introverted Arthur; the subtly-shot ordinariness of the London setting versus the emerging harmonic confidence of its residents; the choir members’ contempt for age versus Elizabeth’s youthful verve; the aching grief of a husband and son versus the life-giving legacy left by the woman that they mourn.
The central performances are memorable: Redgrave for her warmth and bravery; Stamp for ‘nailing’ the triumph of dignity over despair; Arterton for an unforced exhilaration with the joy of her work; Eccleston for the sympathetic vulnerabilities revealed beneath a defensive facade.
And the singing is unaffected, original and fun, always preventing sentimentality or gloom from taking centre stage.
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on 16 December 2014
Song for Marion, released as ‘Unfinished Song’ in America, deals with the themes of bereavement, regret, separation, and reconciliation within a family. It uses the preparation of a choir made up of retired people organized by a young music teacher. It is a story that could so easily fall into pathos and sentimentality but it is rescued by a fine cast and the capable hands of writer/director Paul Andrew Williams.

Marion is dying of cancer but still full of life and a love for singing, a passion that Vanessa Redgrave communicates beautifully. She forms the perfect foil for her moody husband Arthur, played with delightful restraint by Terence Stamp. They are deeply in love with one another but whereas Marion is the life and soul of the party Arthur is taciturn and finds it difficult to express his feelings, especially to his son James, played with his usual grittiness by Christopher Eccleston.

Elizabeth is a young music teacher who volunteers at a community centre to form a choir, known as the O.A.P.Z, and is a kindred spirit of Marion’s. It is inevitable that Arthur is attracted to her as his wife enters the last days of her life. Gemma Arterton is infectious in her delivery of a young woman moved by music and a love of life. Between them Arthur finds his resolve to remain in the background crumbling as he is drawn reluctantly into the choir.

There are some strong emotional scenes that contrast powerfully with the more comic moments and both are handled well by director Williams. He gets a good friction between Arthur and James as they try to connect for the sake of Marion but always seem to end up clashing. There a few clichéd moments along the way but there is also some nice touches, such as the growing friendship between Arthur and Elizabeth that comes across as quite genuine. It is not a romance but rather the flowering of a strong platonic relationship inspired by Marion herself. Perhaps the cleverest moment of the film comes towards the end when the choir faces disappointment in the competition that Marion hoped to participate in with them. It could have descended into bathos but is beautifully turned by Arthur’s rendition of Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel) into a high moment of the film. Again, Terence Stamp’s restrained delivery raises the moment.

A genuine feel good movie that explores its themes intelligently and with humour and made all the better for such a fine cast.
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on 21 May 2014
Highly enjoyable film exploring the reaction of a proud, "stiff upper lip" pensioner, played by Terence Stamp, to being left on his own when his wife dies. She (Vanessa Redgrave) had joined a rock choir in her last weeks of life and really enjoyed it to her husband's more cynical view.

After her death, the choir mistress, Gemma Artherton, takes Terence under her wing and the story unfolds.

Great acting and a salutory tale of the loneliness that old age and bereavement can entail.
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on 17 June 2013
What a lovely film, just the right type to sit with a cuppa and a biscuit and a box of tissues, well worth the money and soooo lovely thank you
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on 9 April 2014
A beautifully written movie. It was heartwarming, sad in places but very funny. A film I think most people could relate to. Marion has Cancer and is determined to live life to the full, played brilliantly by Vanessa Redgrave. Then we have we have her husband, a grumpy old man, played by the wonderful Terence Stamp. If you like good stories with that make you think about life then this is the one for you. A brilliant movie with a fantastic cast.
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on 21 September 2015
This British Drama with comic undertones was shown on DSTV in Johannesburg the other evening and my wife and i decided to watch it
and we are so glad we did. It is a little gem and would have got 5 stars from us if it had not been for the beginning, which does not explain why Arthur is at odds with his son. Yes, you know he is a bad tempered pensioner but it would just have made that difference to know why he and his son had such a poor relationship. Apart from that it is a drama with comedy interspersed in it and will not go into the story as it has already been so well documented.

The other aspect of this film i wish to comment on is that everyone played their roles immaculately but while Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave have the most plaudits, for my wife and myself it was Elizabeth played by Gemma Arteton that for us was the outstanding performance as she in actual fact was the backbone of this film and held it altogether.

I thoroughly recommend this little English gem for your viewing as the story is about ageing life in all its different aspects and is so well executed.
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