Review: Seven Songs For A Long Life

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Review: Seven Songs For A Long Life

Exploring the vitality of life, the reality of death and the heartwarming, intimate moments that provide meaning and laughter in between, Seven Songs for a Long Life documents several patients through difficult times, made lighter by one nurse and her love of song.

Charming, soulful and bittersweet, for anybody who has recently lost someone Seven Songs isn’t an easy documentary to get through. There’s a particular rawness in the subject matter that is often difficult to reconcile with the lighter side of life, yet by sheer charm and openness this film paints a far richer image of the people and families dealing with terminal illness and debilitating conditions.


From the moment Tosh refuses to fill in his assessment form and serenades us with a remarkably good Sinatra song, this documentary grabs life through song. Six hospice patients allow us into tender, vulnerable and funny moments of their lives. Singing unlocks the patients’ pasts, guides their dreams and their futures.



Encouraged by one nurse who loves to sing, and a collaborative filming process, they wrestle with the new insecurity facing us all: recent advances in biomedicine mean we can now live for years rather than months after a terminal diagnosis. Sometimes. But not every time. How do we cope with this uncertainty?

Patients at Strathcarron Hospice are quirky, wry front-runners in a journey that we will all face. Each patient deals with enormous change during the three years of filming. As they go through the little and big dramas of trying to make a will, medicating pain, finding a guardian for a child and moving house, we see the growing relationship between staff and patient, patient and patient.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to help face your own mortality, making the process of dying itself safe, individual, and as gentle as possible.

A documentary by Amy Hardie. 82 minutes.


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Regular type person by day, film vigilante by night. Spent years as a 35mm projectionist (he got taller) and now he gets to watch and wax lyrical about all manner of motion pictures. Daryl has got a soft spot for naff Horror and he’d consider Anime to be his kryptonite.

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