Film, Comedy
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
(58user reviews)
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If the point-blank treatment of old age and mortality in this year’s French arthouse hit ‘Amour’ makes you nervous, here’s the cuddly British version – with songs. ‘Quartet’ has been adapted by screenwriter Ronald Harwood (‘The Pianist’) from his own 1999 play, and essentially it’s a country-house, putting-on-a-play drama. Only the house is a care home for retired actors and singers, and the stumbling blocks to first-night glory are the side-effects of ageing. The gentle conundrum is whether four residents of Beecham House – Jean (Maggie Smith, pictured left), Wilf (Billy Connolly), Cissy (Pauline Collins, pictured right) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay) – will overcome their problems to perform the quartet from Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ at a benefit gig for their home. It’s a light, fruity film – complete with Michael Gambon flitting around in a silk dressing gown and fez. Dustin Hoffman, directing for the first time, draws endearing performances from his cast, and a host of supporting actors played by singers and musicians grounds its more farcical and rarefied elements in white-haired reality.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday January 4 2013
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Dustin Hoffman
Cast: Maggie Smith
Billy Connolly
Michael Gambon