Marion, Let’s Sing About Sex

I thought Song For Marion would be the kind of movie I’d recommend my mother watched with her girlfriends as it seemed to be a happy-go-lucky tale about “climbing over the mountain” with old-people-jokes about the perils of being sixty plus. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the charming characters and the heartwarming themes and was weeping almost from start to finish.

The film revolves around Marion (Vanessa Redgrave), a woman whose battle with terminal cancer does not whatsoever dampen her vivacious spirit and extremely positive take on life. Her character is contrasted by her grumpy old fart of a husband, Arthur (Terence Stamp). The songs for Marion come in the form of a community choir that is lead by the perky Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) and the townspeople who come together and croon modern popular hits just for the hell of it.

Arthur begrudgingly takes Marion to choir practice, where he puts up a negative front towards her friends and thinks she is embarrassing herself by singing, but this does not crush her ever-glowing attitude. She continues to practice in the choir and embraces the challenge of performing a solo in a competition that Elizabeth entered the group in. The choir perform under the moniker of the OAPz (“Old Age Pensioner”, with a “z” added to make it hip).

Despite Song For Marion‘s narrative surrounding Marion’s battle with cancer and the great level of tension that Arthur has with his son James (Christopher Eccleston), there are so many well written, subtlety hilarious scenes in this film. Like when Elizabeth is teaching the choir the robot dance and one OAP ends up in hospital for shifting something that shouldn’t have been shifted while trying to get into the groove, it was an absolute crack up. Also, where Arthur meets his granddaughter at her school and offers her chocolates over the fence, much to the usual suspicion of her teacher.

Now, onto the music. I actually found myself willingly seeking out the soundtrack to this film, post-viewing, I tell no lies. I couldn’t get enough of those OAPz churning out pretty naff, but sweet, versions of Ace of Spades and Gnarlz Barkley’s Crazy. With comic numbers including Love Shack and Let’s Talk About Sex, for the reason mentioned by a charming OAP woman in the film “well we’re all thinking about it!”. Right on. Marion’s rendition of True Colours had my tears streaming as she struggled to stand, and as her loving eyes gazed at her husband.

With Mothers Day coming up (in Australia), I would really recommend taking your mamma out to see Song For Marion if you CBF getting all family-orientated and want to have an enjoyable couple of hours laughing and crying at old people sing songs about having sex.

In the US, the film may be titled “Unfinished Song”.

Words by Carol Bowditch