Cinema courts "grey pound"

Posted on: 28 February 2013 by Gareth Hargreaves

Song for Marrion - latest in string of films aimed at over 50s

Song For MarionThe over 50s seem to be de rigueur for movie makers these days and Paul Andrew Williams' Song for Marion looks sure to continue the trend.

In the UK alone in the past couple of years we've seen older ensemble casts enjoy box office success in Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Made in Dagenham and Dustin Hoffman's recent directorial debut, Quartet. Not to be outdone Hollywood has also got in on the act with 50-odd year-old Bruce Willis reprising his action hero Die Hard role, while an equally seasoned cast of Stallone, Lundgren and a certain  governor of California pushed the limits of  human bodies with half a century's mileage under the bonnet in The Expendables. Even Dame Helen Mirren got in on the high octane stuff with RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) alongside Morgan Freeman and omnipresent actioner Willis.

If you prefer a slower pace, Song for Marion is a frothy bit of Britcom a la Calendar Girls and Brassed Off. It is light and follows a familiar formula of emotional ups and downs with energetic (but terminally ill) Vanessa Redgrave persuading emotionally constipated curmudgeon, Terence Stamp to join a community choir.

Sure it is a bit predictable and a bit ham fisted in the way it deals with third age issues such as terminal illness, bereavement and isolation, but it still has comic value and warmth. This is the perfect antidote to Michael Haneke’s relentlessly saddening, Amour - an intelligent drama which charts a similar path without the laughs or a singsong.

Cinema insiders like to refer to this resurgence of older filmgoers  as the 'grey pound' - because, wait for it, they are all old and retired and have time to go to the cinema. Really? Or may be it’s just that this particular audience grew up with and enjoy the experience of going to the cinema.

Film executives are finally catching up with a significant demographic shift as more and more of the baby boomer generation hits retirement age. Let’s just hope that they can bring some maturity to their films and avoid the cartoonish caricatures that seems to run through some of these productions. 

Song for Marion is in cinemas now.


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