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'Unfinished Song' leaves no tear duct untapped

The movie may tug on the heartstrings a little too much, but Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave are riveting as the film's leads.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / June 21, 2013

'Unfinished Song' stars Terence Stamp (r.) and Gemma Arterton (l.).

Nick Wall/The Weinstein Company/AP

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“Unfinished Song” is one of those movies that leaves no tear duct untapped. But because it does so in ways that are meant to be classy and not schmaltzy, it will probably be taken a lot more seriously than it deserves to be. Still, the director, Paul Andrew Williams, at least had the good sense to cast Terence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave as his leads. Who can possibly look away from those two whenever they’re on screen?

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Stamp’s Arthur is a crusty pensioner on the outs with his son (Christopher Eccleston). Arthur’s wife, Marion (Redgrave), has a brain tumor but gallantly rises above her sorrow by belting out ditties with a senior citizen a cappella group. Inevitably the moment comes when Arthur, guided by the group’s alarmingly chipper director (Gemma Arterton), joins the fray – singing Billy Joel’s “Lullaby” no less.

Here’s a valuable moviegoing rule: Just because you use up an entire handful of hankies doesn’t mean a movie’s great. But Stamp and Redgrave are the real deal. Grade: B- (Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and rude gestures.)

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