3 hours ago
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Film: 'SONG FOR MARION'
When I first saw the trailer of this some weeks ago I was groaning in the expectation that this was going to be the latest in a number of recent films which could justifiably have had a subtitle of 'Old people are ever so funny!' I've had to sit through the trailer four or five times since seeing it initially, and I've cringed every time.
So what possessed me to go? (I'm still asking myself.) There was, I thought, a chance that I could see it at half-price at a morning parent-and-baby screening - and besides, it just couldn't be all that bad, could it?. When I got there, to my chagrin, discovered that it not only was full price but if I'd waited until tomorrow I could have seen it much cheaper at a Senior Citizens showing. But I'd already travelled twelve miles and I didn't want to do it all again on the morrow so I gulped, paid up and took my seat, fuming inwardly at the needless extra expense, entirely due to my own folly.
The film concerns the advanced cancer-suffering Vanessa Redgrave character, beyond medical treatment and trying to get the most out of life before she dies, by her participation in an oldies singing group - the O.A.P.'Z (complete with redundant apostrophe!). Terence Stamp plays her scowling, incommunicative husband, only happy when playing dominoes in the pub with his mates. When she eventually departs he tries to patch up a frosty relationship with his neglected and alienated middle-aged son (Christopher Eccleston in good form), single parent to an eight-year old daughter. Add in the wife's pressure on hubby to join the O.A.P.'Z (coached by a chirpy, 20-something Gemma Arterton) - and, yes, there's a choir competition (oh goody! who would have believed it!) - and you need to know nothing else to mark out the film's trajectory with a blindfold on.
If there were prizes for total lack of imagination this film would win hands down! I really longed, nay prayed, for something unexpected to happen - but all in vain. And as for the members of this oldies group themselves, what a hoot they were! Over-acting their little grey-topped heads off. Nothing on earth is as funny as seeing old people acting like teenagers, there really isn't! - singing 'Let's talk about sex, baby!", jiving like billy-o, doing an hilarious 'robot-dance', old men wearing studded leather biker jackets - ho ho ho! Laugh? I could have died! (And even wished I had! It would probably have been more fun and definitely more interesting.)
I haven't yet mentioned the amount of glutinous sentiment in the film. If you like treacle, you've got it by the bucket-load here. Nothing wrong with a bit of sentiment per se, but it has to be done artfully and with discretion to avoid it being cloying, not dished out by the ladle. I appreciate that I've got an inbuilt resistance to contrived sentimental situations, and am especially conscious of when a film is going all-out to manipulate one. Some people can take it. Some even like it. If that's your bag then you're welcome to it.
To summarise then, in terms of my own total absence of enjoyment I give the film nul point. However, it does earn one point for Eccleston, and a sympathetic half point each for Redgrave and Stamp who both deserve far better material than this - making a grand total of.......2/10 - Watch it if you dare!