If you’re a baby boomer or above, you’re facing some realities. You aren’t going to look like your 25 no matter how much you try. You start noticing other changes too. You get tired faster. Some people notice a little forgetfulness creeping in. Imagine how it’s going to be in your 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Acceptance of very old age is beautifully portrayed in the movie, “Quartet.” It is Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut (at 75) and he does a sensitive job. He was wise enough to do his first production with the best actors. Try Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins, Even though they’re elderly, they’re effective. Just like the characters they portray in the movie.
The movie is about people living in a retirement home for musicians, Beecham, residents are notable instrumentalists and opera singers. They don’t sit around and play Bingo; they play and sing music. Most of it classical and operatic There is plenty of music interspersed throughout the movie. There’s some authentic singing done by some of these masterful actors, singers and instrumentalists.
One of the conflicts comes into play when a former diva Jean Horton, portrayed by Maggie Smith, has to make contact with her ex husband Reginald portrayed by Tom Courtenay. You know it was a serious breakup by their reaction to each other.
The retirement home needs to put on a show to raise money so they can stay in business. Smith’s character doesn’t want to tarnish her reputation since she can’t hit the high notes she used to. Part of the movie deals with Jeans reluctance to perform again.
Although the movie drags a little in the beginning, it picks up speed and by middle, you’ll be completely captivated.
*If you live in Columbus, Ohio, it’s playing at The Drexel Theater in Bexley.
Stay for the credits. They have some before and after pictures of the actors.
( I attended this movie with people I’ve been singing in a choir with for over 20 years. By the end of the movie, we were joking about scoping out a retirement home now. I couldn’t think of people I’d rather live with when I’m really old! )
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- ‘Quartet’ features one excellent supporting performance (moviejunkieto.com)
- Dustin Hoffmans’ Directorial Debut, ‘Quartet’, How Did He Do? (contactmusic.com)
- ‘Quartet’: Dustin Hoffman, Behind The Camera (wnyc.org)
- ‘Quartet’ review: Hopeful notes on aging (sfgate.com)