Friday, November 15, 2013

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "Unfinished Song" (2012)

Movie: "Unfinished Song"
Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Year: 2012
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Arthur (Terence Stamp) is an old curmudgeon who has a wife named Marion (Vanessa Redgrave). Marion is battling cancer, and yet remains fun-loving and positive about each and every day, while Arthur remains a grouch. A couple times a week, she visits her local rec center for choir lessons, led by the young Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton). Their group auditions for a choir competition. After they win their way into the competition, helped in large part by a solo song sung by Marion, she succumbs to her illness. Arthur, in all his grumpiness, finds himself joining the choir as his way to pay tribute to the memory of his late wife, and to try to find happiness in a life without her.

This is the kind of movie my mother-in-law would have loved. In fact, Vanessa Redgrave's character reminded both BigJ and I of his mom: she had the same glasses, the same illness and subsequent hairstyle, the same long dangling necklaces, the same spunk...and we cried throughout this entire movie. It really hit home for us. In my opinion, that's what movies are supposed to do. Movies can be representations of reality. They are supposed to make us feel things, good and bad, and help us move on and through tough situations like death. The main goal of films should be to make audiences connect with their emotions, and this is what "Unfinished Song" did for us.

The story and plot aren't new or earth-shattering or even that original. A lot of the comedy comes from older people doing typically younger people things, such as singing about sex, gyrating on stage, and general hoopla like that. Without a personal connection to this movie, it's just a lighthearted dramedy, but many people will connect to it and enjoy it. In fact, most people will probably like it just fine. You are happy, then you're sad. Then you get angry, then you're sad again. This movie is a roller coaster of emotions driven, in large part, by brilliant acting and stellar directing. Terence Stamp was perfectly cast as the grumpy Arthur, and Vanessa Redgrave excelled as the lighthearted, optimistic Marion. It's a hard movie to watch, especially since Stamp and Redgrave are very old in real life, but they own their roles and look like they have fun doing it.

Take a chance on this movie. Please.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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