Friday, 1 March 2013

245, Song for Marion

Going into this movie I was expecting quite a jovial romp through OAP suburbia with a tinge of sadness in the most recent instalment of a string of movies over the past 12 months focusing on the older UK generation and chuckling along at their mischievous and comedic methods as was in comparable movies such as Marigold Hotel & Quartet.  What I didn't expect however (albeit understanding the premise prior to viewing) was for it too tug on the heart string as much as it did.

This movie is easily broken into two parts - firstly, don't expect a sad ending - the trauma comes early on in this one and you will be hard pressed to crack a smile during the first 45 minutes as you watch the tragic effects of cancer take hold of Marion (brilliantly played by Vanessa Redgrave) as she endeavours to fulfil her dream of singing in the local pensioners choir much to the criticism of cantankerous hubby Terence Stamp (Arthur).

As Marion's health declines the choir seem to build a stronger bond with her, again to the embarrassment of Arthur and when the inevitable happens it falls to Choir mistress Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) to try and get Arthur involved with the choir himself - picking up where Marion left off and take her place on stage for the final choir competition that the movie is based around.

Part two of this movie does cheer up a little as Arterton manages to persuade Stamp into taking a few singing lessons and discovering quite a knack for holding a note and its not long before they all start to gel together, making for a rousing finale!

What I am certainly not going to do is critic the performances from Redgrave & Stamp - General Zod is a legendary character for Stamp and Redgrave's career dates back to the late 50's so who am I to judge? so from me - all praise to them and Redgrave especially deserves credit for her portrayal of Marion.

I have however, in the past been quite critical of Gemma Arterton. I've been split of recent years between not really being a a fan of her's in Quantum of Solace (playing Strawberry Fields) or Nancy Drew but on the flip side, loving her work in Prince of Persia, Wrath of the Titans and (her best role to date) Kelly, in St Trinian's. In addition - the fact that she was born and raised not more than 20 minutes from me in Gravesend, Kent is nice to know but in this movie she really does shine as the innocent girl next door. A lonely Music teacher relying on the OAP'z as her contact to the outside world and really understanding the older generation. Well done Arterton.

There are of course a fully recognisable band of pensioners taking up the slack as the supporting choir - almost all from TV shows seen over the decades but for me, the biggest surprise was seeing Pork-Pie from Desmond's! Loved that show.

Marion & Arthur's son is played by Christopher Ecclestone and his easily noticeable issues with his dad lay ground for a subtle side story although I hoped this may have been thwarted by a possible love story between him and Arterton but it was not to be - this is all about the oldies and although sad, is as heart-warming as it gets.