On the Saturday night of our trip to England, Dan's parents took me to their local cinema to see Song For Marion.
The theater was at the top level of the Corn Exchange in Newbury. The building that houses the cinema was built in 1862 and as the name implies, was originally a space where merchants exchanged corn. In 1993, The Corn Exchange was transformed into a performing arts center, with the top level housing a small, single screen cinema.
The theater holds about fifty-sixty people and has assigned seating. Dan's parents purchased our tickets about a month in advance, something that I can't imagine having to do at any of our local theaters. The screening of Song for Marion completely filled up.
Song for Marion is a tear jerker. It's the worst kind of tear jerker, the kind that starts at the early on in the film and doesn't let up. A tear jerker combined with the jet lag that I was experiencing was a recipe for an emotional evening out. I was not alone though, the entire theater was filled with sniffling and everyone walked out with red eyes and crumpled hankies.
That being said, I really enjoyed Song for Marion. Vanessa Redgrave plays Marion, a woman dying of cancer, whose curmudgeon husband (Terence Stamp) must find a way to deal with his grief and repair his relationship with his estranged son. His wife finds fun and solace during her final months through participating in a choir for senior citizens, something that her husband just cannot understand. The choir and it's bubbly director become a force in both of their lives.
The story was mostly solid, although I would have liked to have had a little more background on the father/son estrangement. It's an important element to the story, yet it seemed glossed over. The story focused on the fact that they are estranged, rather than how it happened. I wanted a bit more.
I think that it's a given that Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave will give an outstanding performance in any role. I was really impressed with two of the other leads, Gemma Arterton (Choir Director) and Christopher Eccleston (estranged son). Arerton and Eccleston both held their own against the powerhouse duo of Stamp and Redgrave. I feel like all four really drove the movie and delivered emotional performances. If the movie had weaker performances, it may have turned into an overly sentimental mess.
The levity of the choir group gives balance to the painful emotions that Marion's family are experiencing. This balance is what makes Song for Marion ultimately an uplifting story, without ever feeling trite, disingenuous or sappy.