Song for Marion

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Song for Marion
Promotional poster for Song for Marion.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byPaul Andrew Williams
Written byPaul Andrew Williams
Produced byKen Marshall
Philip Moross
StarringTerence Stamp
Gemma Arterton
Christopher Eccleston
Vanessa Redgrave
CinematographyCarlos Catalán
Edited byDaniel Farrell
Music byLaura Rossi
Steel Mill Pictures
Coolmore Productions
Egoli Tossell Film
Film House Germany
Distributed byEntertainment One
Release dates
  • 15 September 2012 (2012-09-15) (TIFF)
  • 22 February 2013 (2013-02-22) (United Kingdom)
  • 14 March 2013 (2013-03-14) (Germany)
Running time
93 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited Kingdom
Box office$9.2 million[2]

Song for Marion is a 2012 British-German comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Andrew Williams and starring Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston and Vanessa Redgrave. The film was released as Unfinished Song in the United States.

The film was nominated for three awards—Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress—at the 2012 British Independent Film Awards.[3]


Arthur Harris is the grumpy husband of Marion, who is terminally ill yet continues to participate with enthusiasm at her local seniors' choir, The OAP'Z. The choirmaster is a young teacher, Elizabeth who is preparing the choir to enter a local musical choir competition called "Shadow Song". Arthur is also estranged from his son, James. Marion's health deteriorates over time until one night when she dies in her sleep. Arthur initially takes this loss severely and cuts himself from his family and the choir. Eventually he agrees to take Marion's place in the choir. The transition proves to be a challenge for Arthur thanks to the unconventional songbook that includes racier songs such as Salt-N-Pepa's "Let's Talk About Sex" and Motörhead's "Ace of Spades". However he grows to enjoy spending time in the choir.

On the eve of the competition, Arthur has an argument with James in a failed attempt to rebuild their relationship and pulls out of the choir. The choir participates in the competition without Arthur. He arrives later but before he can perform with the choir, they are eliminated from the competition by the judges. The choir are on their way to return home in defeat when Arthur stops the bus and storms the musical competition's stage shortly joined by the rest of the choir. They perform again with Arthur singing a solo of "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)". The choir finishes in third place and returns home triumphant. Arthur and his son, James (who watched him perform in the competition) reconnect on the journey home with James leaving an answering phone message confirming this later.



The film is accompanied by a song titled "Unfinished Songs" written by Diane Warren and performed by Celine Dion.[4] The song was included in Dion's 2013 album Loved Me Back to Life but with different vocal and musical arrangements.

The song "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)", performed by the main character in the film, is a Billy Joel song.

The score was composed by Laura Rossi. Lost In The Multiplex's Soundtrek section deemed Rossi's score "lovely", but opined that the OAP'Z songs "aren't particularly funny, they're not that fun to listen to either."[5]


On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 65% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 5.91/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "It's unabashedly sentimental, but thanks to reliably powerful performances from a well-rounded veteran cast, Unfinished Song proves a sweetly compelling character piece."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7]


Although the film is set in London it was primarily shot on location in Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham. Filming took place over some six weeks in July and August 2011, and locations included St Francis Community Centre (next to Freeman Hospital), Newcastle City Hall, Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Chester-le-Street Cemetery and Durham Johnston Comprehensive School.[8]

The 2007 documentary film Young@Heart also deals with a choir of seniors performing contemporary music.


  1. ^ "SONG FOR MARION (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Unfinished Song (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Nominations 2012: BIFA". British Independent Film Awards. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Celine Sings A 'Song for Marion". 12 September 2012. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Soundtrek Review: Song For Marion". 23 February 2013. Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Unfinished Song (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Onward Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 7 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Song For Marion film shot in Durham and Newcastle". BBC News. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2014.

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