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.
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Paul Andrew Williams
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
After years of acting and two Oscars under his belt, Dustin Hoffman finally takes a turn behind the camera in his directorial debut for Quartet.
Based on Ronald Harwood's play of the same name, the film takes place at Beecham House, a home where retired opera singers Cissy (Pauline Collins), Reginald (Tom Courtenay) and Wilf (Billy Connolly) live. Formally part of a quartet, every year the three take part in a concert to celebrate composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday. But when Jean (Maggie Smith), the fourth member of their group arrives at the seniors' home, things get complicated. As she is the ex-wife of fellow member Reginald, old rivalries, theatrical temperaments and drama evidently ensues and it becomes unclear whether or not the show will go on.
While the film never gets any more drastic than this, it is delightfully charming to see veteran actors Smith, Courtenay, Connolly and Collins strut their stuff. With Smith perfectly playing the slightly narcissistic queen bee of the group, even Michael Gambon makes an appearance as the eccentric lead coordinator of the concert. But as we see Courtenay's Reggie harbour old feelings for his ex-wife and Collins play the lovable confidante Cissy, it's Connolly who steals the show as the hilariously lustful Wilf.
Although there isn't much material to let the actors stretch their acting capabilities, Quartet is a pleasure to watch. Although it pokes fun at old age and shows the fears of becoming a has-been, it's the performances by the film's legendary actors that make Hoffman's endearing tale what it is.
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