Quartet

At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.(IMDB)


Writer:  Ronald Harwood (play), Ronald Harwood(screenplay)
Director:  Dustin Hoffman
Stars:  Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly
Run time/Rating:  98 Minutes/ PG-13
Popcorn Score:  Medium Popcorn with Butter

I am not totally positive why I am writing this. I can imagine that no one in my audience, despite its large reach and relentless dedication, will ever go out to see this movie.  I however, when it came to Quartet, did what I do and saw the movie.  I do have to account my screening of this movie to my wife who after our powerhouse binge of Downton Abbey over the last few weeks has a renewed love for Maggie Smith.  That same Downton binge is also the reason why there has not been a new post on PMR in over 3 weeks, but when your head is in the hills of the English countryside circa 1920 there is no time to get out to the theater.

Dustin Hoffman had a fun time directing this movie, I’m sure.  I imagine him going to work with nothing but people from his own age demographic who are all pros at their respected craft whether it be acting or music and having fun as if they were all in the retirement center themselves in which the story takes place.

The movie primarily focuses on four former professional singers.  They were the best of their time and performed together as one of the most celebrated quartets ever assembled.  They all reunite together at a Retirement center strictly for former professional musicians when Jean Horton (Maggie Smith) the relentless diva, moves into the home.

The center is preparing for the annual fundraising gala and the would be final act is being thwarted by Jean’s “divaness” who says she will not join the quartet on stage because she no longer sings.  Tom Courtenay, Billy Connoly and Pauline Collins round out the members of the Quartet and all bring fun and interesting characters to the story who are in different stages of dementia, which can be both funny and heartbreaking.  The story is given depth with the history of Jean and Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay) who were once married a long time ago.  This part of the story is heartwarming and as a story like this should leads you to a happy ending.  The supporting cast of characters is entertaining and gives the whole movie the lighthearted feeling that ultimately makes the 1:40 minutes an enjoyable time at the theater.  I had a pleasant feeling throughout and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it despite being 30 years under the marketed age group.

Medium Popcorn with Butter. 

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