5 December 2012 12:26 PM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Dustin Hoffman's genteel directorial debut "Quartet," starring Maggie Smith and a legion of other notable Brit actors as members of a musicans' retirement community, will play best for music-loving Anglophiles who enjoy the company of entertaining British seniors. Yet again, wily Dame Smith steals the show as a proud aging diva who arrives at her new home with no idea how much she wounded the husband she once jilted during her more playful days at the top of the opera world. Tom Courtenay is her courtly swain, while Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins chew up the scenery as the remaining members of a famous quartet.  So far this charming escapist romantic comedy, which the Weinsteins debuted in Toronto as an Oscar campaign launch, is sitting a bit lightly with the critics. That's because it lacks the psychological heft that Hoffman is known for in his astounding resume of acting roles, »


- Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna

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