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Popcorn Preview: Unfinished Song

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Film: Unfinished Song (Song for Marion) (2012)
Cast includes: Terence Stamp (The Limey), Vanessa Redgrave (Howards End), Gemma Arterton (Tamara Drewe), Christopher Eccleston (Elizabeth)
Writer/Director: Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton)
Genre: Comedy | Drama (93 minutes)

"Ok everyone, lets start from the beginning," says Elizabeth. Her dedication is 100%, even though it's just a volunteer job... a senior center choir. She tells us she believes, "Everything happens for a reason... teaching rowdy teenagers by day... teaching even rowdier seniors by night." There's only one senior who's not happy to be there... Marion's husband Arthur waits outside smoking. Marion chemotherapy has left her rather weak, but she hates to miss choir. Elizabeth makes an announcement that she's entered the group in a national competition. "We'll need a name, and I'm suggesting Old Age Pensioners... OAP'Z... The 'Z' makes it modern." "You could be a bit more positive, Arthur," says Elizabeth. "I don't want her hopes getting built up."

Marion's tests don't look good. "I'm afraid the cancer's come back." What about aggressive therapy? "Chips and ice cream... go home and have as much as you want," the doctor tells her. There's nothing more to do. Marion's only got a couple of months. "I'm a bit scared," Marion has to admit. "Don't worry, I'll be there," says Arthur. Of course, Arthur'll be there... he's absolutely devoted to Marion. The next morning, the weather is as gloomy as Marion's mood. It's pouring rain, yet there are people outside the window singing. When Arthur looks out, he sees the senior's choir singing, "You are the sunshine of my life." "Bugger off," screams Arthur. But the choir has inspired Marion to want to go back, and after much arm-twisting, she persuades Arthur to take her. Of course, it'll take a lot more to convince Arthur of the value of this nonsense.

Unfinished Song is a heartwarming film about people finding a path to reengage with those they've alienated along the way. Marion has always been the social glue in the family and the community. Even though she still loves Arthur madly, he's managed to alienate almost everyone around them. If her friends didn't love her so much, they'd never put up with Arthur. But ultimately, it's Arthur who will have to strive to measure up to Marion's example. While it's tempting to want to see old age as a time to throw in the towel and give up, it can be so much more rewarding to set goals and strive to reach them. Unfinished Song may win your heart, but it's not likely to exceed your expectations. It's tender, touching and well done... bring plenty of Kleenex. Elizabeth feels the choir's best strategy for getting into the competition is to surprise the judges. They sing everything from heavy metal to "hippidy hop." The judges are indeed surprised, even though there aren't many surprises for moviegoers. But that said, it's an enjoyable hour and a half.

2 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
Marion only has a couple of months to live, but she still wants to help her senior citizen's choir win a national competition

Popcorn Profile
Rated: PG-13
Audience: Grown-ups
Distribution: Art house
Mood: Sober
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Unvarnished realism
Primary Driver: Character development
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought provoking

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