Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Song of Lunch: Film Review

TV Movie aired Oct 2010
Based on a narrative poem by Christopher Reid, The Song of Lunch (2010) depicts two people having lunch together.

What makes lunch interesting?

In 50 minutes, we get more than enough material to reflect on how past relationships invite us to scrutinize or present selves.

The two people--played by Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson--are former lovers who haven't seen each other for fifteen years.  She left him for someone else.

What makes their break up painful?

It's hard to know how she feels because the poem--providing the voice over for the action--takes his point of view.  His feelings are complex, but know that his biggest aspirations are to be a famous poet.  He works reviewing manuscripts for a publishing house.

Her husband is a successful novelist.


People in midlife who read and perhaps write poetry will be the ideal audience for this film. Fans of Rickman and Thompson might brave this atypical film genre (the script taken entirely from a poem). The language is quite ornate. The attention to interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics are laser sharp.

What are the emerging themes?  Memory, regret, despair, sexual memories/fantasies, self-scrutiny, and painful awareness of one's limitations.  Yes, this film is a bit of a downer.

But it's beautifully executed on several levels.

As expected, the language is symphonic even while conveying sarcasm that's shielding a broken heart.  For example,
The very table linen 
has lost its patriotism.
Plain white: we surrender. 
And this menu, this twanging laminated card,
big as a riot policeman's shield. 
But I also like how the extended poem is structured. There are four men whose actions mirror or contrast: the editor having lunch, the former owner of the restaurant, the husband, and the protagonist of a poem written by Rickman's character and summarized in the poem's / film's dialogue.

I would describe how these characters play off each other, but let's avoid spoilers.

Just watch this short, provocative film.


Films about Aging
Films about Love and Sex for People 50+
Movies about Mature Men Preserving Power


  1. Replies
    1. They do a great job conveying complex thoughts and emotions. Enjoy.

  2. I miss Alan Rickman. Gone way too soon. Sounds like a fascinating movie. I'll have to put it on my must see list.

    1. I'm happy I found this gem. I hope you enjoy it, too.

  3. Sounds ambitious and interesting. Am off to the movies tomorrow night with a poet friend - fortuitous reading. Thank you!

    1. It's very odd, but I enjoyed the heavy-handed language with all the literary devices. Enjoy your outing with your poet friend.

  4. Both are/were such powerhous performers. It's a shame Rickman died. I loved both of then in every movie I've seen them in.

    1. Agreed. I was very sad when I heard the news. Gone too soon. I plan on watching this one a second time because it's complicated enough that I want to review certain aspects.

  5. I love both of them. Will watch without the hubs. LOL

    1. It's very interesting about human dynamics between former lovers. The poetic language can be a roadblock at times, but the actors are so good that I stuck with it.

  6. Sounds interesting; gotta check it out. But isn't "famous poet" an oxymoron?

    1. Ah, famous poet. Good point. So many poets, so few paying readers of poetry.