Every person has a different way of dealing with loss. And sometimes denying reality seems the easiest thing to do. Those issues are the main subject of Song for Marion, a heartbreaking story about an elderly couple and how each one faces fate.
The married couple is formed by Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave, so there is no need to explain by now why they raise the quality of the movie. I myself have admired Redgrave since I saw Camelot when I was a child (sure, it’s not her best, but I was still fascinated). The chemistry between Stamp and Redgrave is undeniable, and they both display their singing voices. But more on that later.
The other female lead is Gemma Arterton, who must be still recovering from that so-called film Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (what a waste of a cinema ticket). She plays the role of a girl who leads the choir at a community centre for elderly people.
And the last actor of the main four is Christopher Eccleston, a very underrated actor in my opinion, and a splendid 9th Doctor, no matter what others say (and David Tennant is my favourite Doctor…). The first Eccleston film I ever saw was Jude, and even though I was only 8 or 9 years old, his overpowering acting made an impression on me.
(Aside: the casting choice for the three family members could not be better: Stamp and Eccleston share an almost identical eye colour, and both of them and Redgrave have spectacularly deep blue eyes. I just wanted to point out how captivating this was).
The plot is as follows: Arthur and Marion are two different personalities. She is the most optimistic person in the world, and he is a cynical with a negative attitude towards everything. Despite this, they love each other madly. Marion is part of the community centre choir, run by the young and charming Elizabeth. When Marion relapses into her illness, Arthur reluctantly joins the choir his wife loves so much. To that, we should add his bad relationship with his son James, damaged because of Arthur’s pride and his impossible character.
Emotional and heartbreaking, the film makes you cry since minute 2 (expect waterfalls every time someone says “Marion“). Nonetheless, it has some amusing moments, and it shares an uplifting tone about life. But the lump in your throat stays there. The last scene of the movie contains a moral about accepting your circumstances that invites you to reflect.
But let’s return to Stamp and Redgrave’s singing voices. There are two moments in this movie that are worth mentioning:
The first one is when Marion sings True Colours (waterfalls). She has a lovely voice (yes, as she proved in Camelot), and she is an incredible actress who could make you cry with a Coke commercial if she wanted you to. The second moment is the final song, the song for Marion, performed by Stamp’s Arthur. This one just tears your heart apart, and not only because of Stamp’s voice, but also due to the lyrics of the song. And Terence sings every word meaning it, getting into your soul. The scene is obviously not online, but you can see the original version with Billy Joel.
If you don’t shed a single tear with Song For Marion, you have no soul at all. No pressure.