Film review: Song for Marion (PG)


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Films so nakedly contrived to warm the heart tend to have the very opposite effect on me. If that sounds curmudgeonly just meet pensioner Arthur (Terence Stamp), a grumpy old git who looks after his ailing wife, Marion (Vanessa Redgrave), but refuses to share in her love of performing.

While she's singing with her rock'n'pop choir ("the OAPz") at the community centre he's skulking in the hallway with a face like a wet Tuesday. When Marion warbles her last Arthur is hard to console, as his son (Christopher Eccleston) soon discovers. Can chirpy choir-mistress Gemma Arterton charm the reluctant songbird out of his tree of misery?

The heart-of-gold championing of pensioner power is somewhat at odds with the agonising mediocrity of the script, written – bafflingly – by Paul Andrew Williams, who showed promise with his terrific gangland thriller London to Brighton in 2006. Was our love in vain? Stamp does OK with the singing; sadly, he's as much of a plank as ever when it comes to acting.

This may pick up audiences wanting more after The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but it's terribly feeble stuff.