At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean (Dame Maggie Smith), an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.
Cissy (Pauline Collins), Reggie (Sir Tom Courtenay), and Wilf (Sir Billy Connolly) are in a home for retired musicians. Every year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday and they take part. Jean (Dame Maggie Smith), who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva, but she refuses to sing. Still, the show must go on, and it does.Written by
Dame Maggie Smith appeared in another movie named Quartet (1981). However, the only similarities between the two movies are the title and Smith. See more »
While Reggie is playing croquet with Wilf, his pocket handkerchief and shirt buttons suddenly swap sides, indicating a flipped shot. See more »
[to a class of teenagers]
Opera is: when a guy's stabbed in the back, instead of bleeding, he sings. It seems to me, after much research, that rap is when a guy is stabbed in the back, and instead of bleeding, he talks. Er, rhythmically, even with feeling. But because rap's *spoken*, the feeling is sort of held in check: all on one note.
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As the final credits roll, photos of each of the supporting cast members of retired musicians is shown beside a picture of them during their performing careers. See more »
Well, speak of the devil - just the other year I asked my lady-friend "whatever became of Dustin Hoffman?" - and here he is with his first work as director. And it's a really nice film, too! A nursing home for retired musicians, situated in the lush landscape of rural England, forms the refined stage for this adapted play. The financial future of said home depends on the success of the yearly gala concert to honor Verdi's birthday, and if you think you can guess the script from this description you're probably right since the story unfolds in a pretty formulaic way, no, thank you, no risk with my tea today. A love-gone-wrong, a little jealousy, health problems are thrown at our wrinkled protagonists but nothing can avert the happy outcome! Though formulaic, I'll recommend this film: The acting is very fine, the comedy is well-timed, and the music is very good. Plus, it manages to stay on the healthy side of sentimental, it's absolutely no tear-jerker. And stay for the end credits!
A note on the actors: Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly carry the comedic parts and do so with obvious joy.
Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay are Jean and Reggie, a couple with a past, on whom the plot centers. Maggie Smith's performance is flawless; Tom Courtenay looks a bit wooden opposite her (or is it the role?).
Since the couple's love story is a bit dry and shallow, the key role in "Quartet", though, falls to Pauline Collins as Cissy - the emotional heart of the film. It's not a fine line, but rather a very wide area between "sane" and "demented", and Pauline Collins boldly explores the expanse of this terrifying region and hits every single note, be it unwitting comedy or devastating fear and disorientation or childlike trust. Often actors impersonating disabled persons limit themselves to a few ticks (Mr. Hoffman himself has some experience here I believe); with Collins' versatile performance you're never sure how "here" or "there" she is at the moment as is true with real-life demented persons.
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