Songs deliver laughter and tears

Vanessa Redgrave as Marion, centre right, performs with her choir mates in A Song For Marion.
Vanessa Redgrave as Marion, centre right, performs with her choir mates in A Song For Marion.

MOVIE REVIEW: Song for Marion. Starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave and Gemma Arterton; directed by Paul Andrew Williams

Song for Marion joins The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet in a list of films becoming increasingly popular, featuring veteran actors delivering whimsical and heart-warming performances.

This particular film sees Terence Stamp leaving his high heels in the desert with Priscilla to play Arthur, the quintessential grumpy old man who is spending the last precious moments with his wife, Marion, who is battling cancer.

In her final days, Marion has joined a choir group which has acted as a type of alternative therapy to keep her happy and motivated. Arthur doesn't fully understand her new passion but begrudgingly supports her. When Marion passes away, Arthur begins to realise that the choir group may be his answer to leaving his grumpy ways behind him and joins in honour of his beloved.

Acting alongside Stamp are British actors Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Eccelston. Redgrave's eyes shine in the role of charismatic Marion, giving an honest and endearing performance. No longer portraying a Doctor with a blue telephone box as transportation is Christopher Eccelston, who plays son to Arthur and Marion. Although his character is comparatively smaller to others in this film, Eccelston is still strong and sincere.

The choir group is made up of a delightful bunch of characters (if not a little cliched) and their song choices are unconventional to deliver a few laughs. Complementing the metal and hip- hop song choices are emotional performances of Cindi Lauper's True Colours, sung by Marion to Arthur, and Billy Joel's Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel), sung by Arthur to his dearly departed wife. These songs were never more perfectly suited, leaving more than a few tears on certain movie-goers cheeks.

Writer and director Paul Andrew Williams typically creates films with a taste of crime, thrill or fright (or a combination of all three). Song for Marion is a welcome step away from his normal genre and a true testament to his apparent flexibility as a film-maker.

If you have seen Pixar's Up and were completely crushed by the first 10 minutes, you will know exactly what to expect from Song for Marion. It is a film which portrays love and loss in a honest and heart-breaking way. It is a true love story which will leave even the cold-hearted with a warm but sad feeling in their heart. Be prepared: bring tissues.

The Southland Times