I saw some previews of “Unfinished Song” and had some thoughts on what it might be about. Put it into mind as a “would be nice to see” but not a must.
Time slot opened up recently to go see and I went.
As Jim McKay said describing Nadia Comaneci’s back flip off the uneven parallel bars at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal (don’t ask me why/how I remember this)... He said “Oh, my Wow”. And that folks is my 3 words sound bite on “Unfinished Song”. This is a MUST film. What a beautiful arrangement of actors and characters who perfectly fit this gentle story.
First of all, if you love movies, it is SO CRITICAL to see legendary actors in the late stages of their movie careers (as a way to thank them as well as know you may never see them again i.e. specifically went to see the last James Bond flick “Skyfall” as I heard this would be the last public (stage/film) appearance by the iconic Dame Judi Dench”.
Well in this film, we have an even more legendary actress of the big screen and stage, Vanessa Redgrave who plays Marion. This actress of a half a decade plus, plays the most kind, loving wife to a crotchety husband of many years. And the twinkle in her eye when she is around him or her friends simply lights up the screen despite her very, very failing health (the “twinkle” so much me reminded me of my Mom who passed away 13 years ago who had a magical circle of friends. Mom, like this character, had a magical group of friends that “danced and lit up” when around them).
This is a kind, warm, special movie. Yes, there are tears but generally happy ones. Speaking of tears, to me the ALL TIME AUTOMATIC CRYING moment in film was in “Brian’s Song” in the 1971 when all time great running back Gale Sayers emotionally talked about his best friend and backfield mate Brian Piccolo (who was fighting cancer) at a 1969 awards ceremony:
"He has the heart of a giant and that rare form of courage that allows him to kid himself and his opponent -- cancer," Sayers told the audience. "He has the mental attitude that makes me proud to have a friend who spells out the word 'courage' 24 hours a day of his life. . . .
I love Brian Piccolo, and I'd like all of you to love him, too. Tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him."
Well in that movie, the tears poured for millions from the utter sadness. In “Unfinished Song”, Ms. Redgrave, knowing she was quite ill, sang the most beautiful and tender solo publically in a park to her curmudgeon husband (who is fabulously played by “Terence Stamp”). It was so poignant, so understated, so beautiful and heartfelt. Seriously, happy tears poured out in a very special film moment.
1st half of the film is all about the radiant Ms. Redgrave and the 2nd half about his grindingly slow but realistic late life transformation of Arthur as he works to come find grace with all his family members.
Seriously folks, I did not think of this movie as a sad movie. I found it very uplifting and remarkably sweet (god I’m getting old).
Lots of very “warm” scenes. Please go. "Oh, my Wow"