Friday, 14 December 2018

Heartwarming story of love and grumpiness

IT is one of those eternal truths that as we get older we get grumpier and more set in our

IT is one of those eternal truths that as we get older we get grumpier and more set in our ways and — at the risk of being deluged by letters from the cantankerous old men of Henley — it’s also universally accepted that men become grumpier than women.

A good, long marriage seems to be one where the wife does a decent damage limitation job on her old man’s grumpiness, and Song For Marion explores this phenomenon with two of our country’s best-loved actors in the key roles — Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave.

The plot tells the story of Marion (Redgrave) who joins a choir for pensioners run by musical director Elizabeth, played by Gemma Arterton. But her cantankerous husband Arthur (Stamp) does not share her passion for performing and would prefer to hide away and complain about how embarrassing it all is.

When heartbreak strikes, Arthus is forced to re-think his outlook on life. With the steady perseverance of the choir director he begins to find a way to come out of his shell and in the process forms a touching relationship with Elizabeth. He also discovers that it is never too late to change — and tries to build bridges with his estranged son, James, played by Christopher Eccleston.

Redgrave, now 75 and still beating a path on her infamous campaign trail to right the injustices of this world, took the role because of the “terrific and wonderfully well-written script”, according to the production company. She points out that there are still pitifully few films for older people.

“Old age pensioners don’t get a look in anywhere, really,” she says, “and I’m not just talking about the film world. I love the fact that my character, Marion, has become a member of an old age pensioners’ choir. That is a very, very special subject for a story.”

Paul Andrew Williams, who wrote the script and also directs, went on a scouting mission in the north east to find singers, and came across a fund-raising choir competition to raise funds for a hospice. He was so impressed with one of the community choirs that he enlisted the help of the choir master Richard Scott, and together they held auditions for people who already sang, picking a range of voices, good and not so good, rather than hold X-Factor type auditions.

It is a timely piece, for people all over the country are now realising the power of singing as a release for all kinds of emotion — grumpiness included.

Film: Song For Marion

Certificate: (PG)

Released: February 22

Director: Paul Andrew Williams

Starring: Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston

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