Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Film Review: The Song of Lunch

Masterpiece recently celebrated their 40th year in broadcasting, and I think it's safe to say that many voracious readers are also big fans of their programing.  With great fiction to film selections, amazing classic adaptions, and thrilling original programming (hello Downton Abbey!), there seems to be a never-ending selection of great things to watch.  Yes.  I'm a total fan and have my DVR set to record anything put out by Masterpiece.

Back in November of this last year, Masterpiece Contemporary ran a program called The Song of Lunch, which I was intrigued to hear was an adaptation of a narrative poem by Christopher Reid.  (See this Guardian article for a short clip from the original poem.) That was interesting enough for me to want to check it out, but after seeing that Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson played the couple in the film meeting up for that lunch together, I was sold.

The basic premise of the piece is that Rickman's character meets up for a lunch hour with Thompson's character, a woman he had an affair with 15 years earlier.  Throughout the meeting over lunch, we are privy to the interesting, amusing, and even disturbing thoughts of Rickman's character.  He details what he sees, how things have changed, and how he feels at every turn.  In a lot of ways, he revealed the fears and weaknesses of a man looking back on his life and questioning his choices.  Told in a very beautiful, lyrical style, this is not a piece filled with a lot of dramatic monologue.  No, it is geared toward nuance, symbol, and tone.  In short, although stirring at times, I thought it was amazing.

The piece is a pretty short one of maybe an hour in length.  The subtly of the story will probably not be every one's "cup of tea," but I thought its poetic narration to be stunning.  Of course, having all-star actors like Rickman and Thompson doesn't hurt the piece.  They don't necessarily speak very often, but use body language in large supply to reach out and tell a much bigger story than is spoken.  In short, I loved it.  If you have a moment to sit and quietly watch a thinking/feeling film, then I really do recommend you check it out.

                                          Watch The Song of Lunch Preview on PBS. See more from Masterpiece.


  1. I enjoyed it, too. There were some really bad reviews of it that I read where I actually agreed with all the points, but personally I could listen to Alan Rickman talking all day, even if it is a bit navel-gazing. :)

    1. Really? I loved this one! Sure, it ended in a really odd way, but I loved the lyrical approach. I really hope they do this with more poems. Such a great idea!