FILM REVIEW: 'Unfinished Song'

 

FILM REVIEW: 'Unfinished Song'

 

Date: August 5, 2013
by: Pam Nadon | Film Critic

 
 

 

The latest gem on the growing list of films about aging couples is the endearing "Unfinished Song." It's a film that celebrates life, elevated immensely by exquisite performances from two veteran acting legends. Terence Stamp, 74, and Vanessa Redgrave, 76, prove that talent can only improve with age in this bittersweet tale of love.

It's a simple story about people getting on with life. Marion (Redgrave) and Arthur (Stamp) have been happily married for decades. Their relationship is one of those opposite-attraction relationships. Outwardly, he's a stodgy, sarcastic twit, while she's charming and gregarious. They live for one another; and when Arthur's greatest fear is realized, his life is shattered.

Marion's cancer has returned and her physician prescribes "chips and ice cream." Knowing that the comment refers to a hopeless prognosis, Marion whispers into Arthur's ear, "I love ice cream." Even faced with imminent death, Marion continues to sing daily with a hip group of seniors led by a charming young hottie, Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton).

The choir is slated to take part in a regional competition, and when Marion passes away, Arthur, in a surprising move, joins the group. In this effort to honor his beloved wife, he discovers a kind and gentle soul (seen only by Marion) that he's been repressing needs exorcising.

"Unfinished Song" is written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams in a vast departure from his previous work ("The Cottage," "London to Brighton"). Known primarily for his horror and crime films, Williams proves he can take some pretty sappy material and turn it into a beautiful commentary on human nature.

It doesn't hurt that he evokes stunningly, brilliant performances from Stamp and Redgrave. But, then again, these formidable actors never fail to showcase their unparalleled prowess whenever on screen.

If you're not brought to tears by Redgrave's soulful rendition of "Time After Time" and Stamp's quietly powerful lullaby, "Goodnight, My Angel," get a heart.

Sometimes, it takes something horrible in life to bring out the best in human beings. "Unfinished Song" stands as a testament to the power of love, the emancipation of change and age being a state of mind.

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