Song for Marion stars Terence Stamp as Arthur, a grumpy pensioner who can’t understand why his wife, Marion (Vanessa Redgrave), would want to embarrass herself by singing as part of an elderly choir group. But Marion has cancer, which is getting worse, so Arthur keeps taking her to choir practice. He doesn’t join in, though. Rather, he stands by himself outside and smokes. But choir director Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton) sees something beyond Arthur’s grumpy appearance. She keeps encouraging him to take part.
After Marion dies, Arthur realises that change is indeed possible for him. He joins the choir, trying hard to let go of the longstanding bitterness and anger that he has used to protect himself from getting close to people, including his estranged son James (Christopher Eccleston).
When a long-awaited singing competition takes place and the choir is told they won’t be allowed to sing, Arthur takes action.
Content that may disturb children
There is one scene in this movie that could scare or disturb children under eight years. As a cancer sufferer, Marion doesn’t have long to live after her cancer comes back. Halfway through the movie, she dies. The scene shows her lying in bed with her eyes open, as Arthur wakes up and realises what has happened.
Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by Marion’s death.
Nothing of concern
There are a few sexual references in this movie. For example:
- One of the songs that the choir group chooses to sing is ‘Let’s talk about sex’.
- When Elizabeth is trying to convince the choir group to sing a rock song, she says that the original band members are ‘proper ugly, but they get laid daily’.
- After the competition judge arrives, one of the elderly choir group members provocatively says to him, ‘What do I have to do to get us through to the competition? I’m prepared to do anything’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie shows some use of substances. For example:
- Arthur continually smokes cigarettes outside the place where the choir group practises. At one point, Elizabeth says to him, ‘Arthur, have you been smoking again? Smoke outside. It’s hard enough keeping this place open as it is’.
- Arthur goes ‘out with the lads’ one night to a bar, where people casually drink beer.
Nudity and sexual activity
The only sexual activity in the movie is when Arthur and Marion kiss briefly kiss a couple of times.
None of concern
This movie has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Song for Marion is a heart-warming movie that highlights the difficulties that come with change and ageing.
Arthur is a man who has shut off his emotions to cope with the imminent death of his wife, but he has lost sight of what it really means to live. After Marion dies, he begins to realise that he has to change his ways, or he risks living in isolation and misery for the rest of his days.
The movie lacks interest for children, and its themes of ageing and terminal illness make it more suited to adults. Younger children might be upset by the scenes of Marion’s death.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with older children include the following:
- It’s OK to make a fool of yourself sometimes – don’t miss out on things you’d like to do just because people might make fun of you.
- It’s never too late to sort things out with people you’ve done the wrong thing to. It’s always worth trying one more time.
- Focusing on the negative things in life will make you miserable – look for the positives instead.
- Your sole goal should never simply be to win – failure can teach you important lessons.