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He is a frustrated copy editor and unsuccessful writer. She is the wife of a successful French novelist. The two former lovers get together at his request after 15 years for a sad and mesmerizing lunch date in London. Alan Rickman portrays the gloomy copy editor and narrates the hour-long film Song of Lunch, which is based on a poem by Christopher Reid of the same name. Emma Thompson is his former lover whose simple touch and sparkle of her eyes enthrall him to this day.

They dine at Zanzotti's, an Italian restaurant of their past that he remembers fondly with its checkered tablecloths, bottles of wine and gregarious host named Massimo. But when he arrives at the restaurant he notices that everything he remembers is gone, including the tablecloths and Massimo.

He starts drinking wine long before she arrives and obsesses about what she will look like. When she finally does arrive he gets lost in her every move, from the way she carves her ravioli with her fork to the way her bracelet hangs on her wrist. She catches him leering at her wrist and she reminds him that it is the wrist of a happy and devoted married woman.

They discuss his one book of poems and argue about its meaning. She accuses him of confusing poetry with therapy. He claims it is a book that tried to capture her sublime beauty and their lost love. She tells him he is stuck in the past and he escapes to the solitude of the men's room.

After exiting the restroom and having consumed too much wine, he ventures straight to the top of the building and falls asleep on the roof. When he finally awakens an hour later and returns to the restaurant, he notices that his lunch date has left and the dining room is empty.

There is, however, one other customer remaining. It is Massimo, sitting all alone by himself at a corner table, looking even more unhappy and somber than the copy editor.

BBC America
1 Season, 1 Episode
October 8, 2010
Cast: Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Andi Soric, Siubhan Harrison
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Song of Lunch Full Episode Guide

  • Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson star in this powerful fusion of poetry and drama. Based on Christopher Reid's narrative poem, The Song of Lunch follows the story of a book editor who, 15 years after their break-up, is meeting his former love for a nostalgic lunch. The woman is now living a glamorous life in Paris, married to a world-renowned writer. Meanwhile, the unnamed editor has failed in his writing career, detests his publishing job and regrets the end of their love affair. As the wine flows, and the couple muse over their failed relationship, nostalgia slowly turns to recrimination.

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