Last night I watched the film A Song For Jenny on BBC1. Even now my eyes water when I think about scenes from the movie. It’s heartbreaking to watch but worth it. A Song for Jenny is based on a book by Julie Nicholson, a mother who lost her daughter during the 7/7 attacks in 2005. The book was adapted for television by the Irish playwright Frank McGuinness and Brian Percival directs. It’s very well written and directed. It’s often said that storytelling is all in the details and this screenplay is a proof of that. Emily Watson gives an incredible performance as Julie, one you’ll never forget.
Julie is struggling to accept her daughter’s death in the suicide bombing at The Edgware Road tube station. As viewers, we can feel the raw emotions through Watson’s performance, the anguish, the devastating wait for the worst news possible. Then the death of hope, the anger and the hatred, but also the complicated and mixed feelings when she tries to honour her daughter by letting go of the hatred, failing at first.
In this interview with The Express, Emily Watson talks about how she met Julie ahead of filming; ‘Julie was amazingly generous. She is a natural storyteller and has a sense of the poetic, despite her own grief,’ says Emily. ‘I asked her a lot of really direct questions and she answered them completely. Although she kind of lost her faith, she came through it and chose life and love and not hatred.’
If Watson will not take home a lot of awards during next awards season, I’ll be surprised. It’s not often we see acting on this level, not even in England.
A Song for Jenny is one of the most powerful explorations of grief I’ve ever seen.