Quartet is about the disruption that shakes up a retirement home for aging opera singers when a renowned diva, Jean, shows up with her bags. However, she is no stranger to the other residents. Jean, played by Dame Maggie Smith, has a history with many of the residents, all played by some of England’s heaviest hitters Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, and Billy Connolly.
As Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, he really takes to behind the camera like an old pro. Hoffman doesn’t necessarily add anything new to the art form, but he employs tried and true methods flawlessly. He tells the story in a straightforward, seamless way. There is beautiful music, crisp colours, and attention to detail.
Quartet is one of those dramas that could go one of two ways: schmaltzy or charming. Luckily for everyone involved, it is the latter. There are no corny flashbacks, and no overplayed emotion. I didn’t find myself caring about these characters because I was manipulated into caring for them. I cared for them because they are real people who have real friendships with each other. The melodrama is countered with just the right amount of humour, and the small moments give way to bigger, rewarding ones.
Not a surprise to anyone, but Dame Maggie Smith gives one whirlwind performance as opera singer, Jean Horton. Yes, she is the queen of crotchety. But in Quartet, she is more vulnerable than ever before. She will move those with the iciest hearts to cry real tears with this role. As for the rest of the cast, they expertly deliver the comedic relief. Gambon, Courtenay, Collins, and Connolly have chemistry to spare and their playful onscreen relationships keep the film young at heart.
Is Quartet opening weekend worthy?
If you are a fan of other British ensemble dramedies, like Calendar Girls or more recently, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it is absolutely opening weekend worthy. All in all, Quartet is a NICE movie with a NICE story. It is a gift you’ve been expecting. You know what is inside, but it is wrapped up in such a lovely little package that you are content all the same. Even if this doesn’t sound like your thing, take your grandparents as a nice gesture and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
More About Quartet
Quartet Production Gallery
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