Friday, January 25, 2013
Quartet is Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, so I had a feeling it was going to be good, as I love him as an actor and he's had a long and varied career. As a classical music fan, too, I very much enjoyed Quartet, although it definitely had some slow spots throughout.
Beecham House is a home for retired musicians, all of whom still love practicing their craft. The birthday of Verdi (a composer) is coming up, and the Beecham residents are preparing a big concert to celebrate. Reggie (Tom Courtenay), Wilf (Billy Connolly), and Cissy (Pauline Collins) are all opera singers who used to be very famous, actually, and they're shocked when they find out that a woman who was in their quartet, Jean (Maggie Smith), is going to be Beecham's newest resident. It's especially problematic for Reggie, who used to be married to Jean before she broke his heart many years ago. The director of the Verdi concert, though (Michael Gambon, aka Dumbledore from the Harry Potter films) knows that if they can get Jean to sing with them in their old quartet, it will draw in a huge crowd, and he pressures them to ask her, even though she's given up singing publicly.
This movie reminded me of Blue Lake, a fine arts camp I used to attend, except it was a retirement home! It looked like it would be really fun to live there, actually, aside from all the drama going on. My favorite character was actually Cissy, who is energetic and eternally optimistic; there's a scene between her and Maggie Smith where Maggie throws flowers at her that is hilarious, at least at first. Michael Gambon, missing his trademark Dumbledore beard but distinguishable by his voice and mannerisms, has a good part also, as the leader of putting together the Verdi concert, and the other two members of the quartet (Courtenay and Connolly) are great too.
Yes, see this movie. The only part that could have been better, like I mentioned before, was its slowness, but the film is humorous enough that it's easy to look past that. Kudos to Dustin Hoffman on a fantastic debut, and I hope to see more movies from him in the future.
Quartet is in theaters today, January 25th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 98 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.