The joyful and heartwarming Unfinished Song (formerly Song for Marion) brings together two icons of British cinema, Academy Award winner Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End, Julia) and Terence Stamp (The Limey, Billy Budd), as well as a new generation of talent represented by the always impressive Gemma Arterton (Tamara Drewe, Quantum of Solace).
Arthur (Stamp) is not an easy man to warm to. Grumpy and awkward at the best of times, he’s reached a point in his life so grim there seems little reason to smile anymore: his beloved wife Marion (Redgrave) is terminally ill. The indomitable Marion, however, refuses to let her condition get her down, and she continues to take great pleasure in singing with the local seniors’ choir. One rainy morning, while Arthur and Marion are still in bed, choir mistress Elizabeth (Arterton) brings the group out to serenade the couple with a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” Marion is delighted, but Arthur’s scowls send the singers scurrying away.
As Marion’s condition worsens, Arthur does his best to please her—even to the extent of taking her place in the choir, whose songbook turns out to be considerably less conventional than Arthur expected. As he struggles to adapt to this new environment, Arthur will rediscover parts of himself long buried underneath his all-consuming bitterness— resources he’ll need in order to get through what will be the most painful transition in his life. Music brings bliss to everyone, but all songs must come to an end.
Unfinished Song closes with a dedication: “To family.” And indeed, this is a film that speaks to people of all ages. Rousing and inspiring, it reminds us that every stage of life is worthy of celebration—a notion embodied here in the luminous form of two of the cinema’s most legendary performers.