Out on DVD from director Dustin Hoffman, BBC Films, the Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment comes an amazing look at the QUARTET.
This film tells the story of a retirement home for opera singers. Among the home’s residents are Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), Wilf Bond (Billy Connolly), Cedric Livingston (Michael Gambon) and Cissy Robson (Pauline Collins).
Once Reginald, Wilf and Cissy were considered part of a historic performance of Verdi, which happens every year. There is one person missing however but it doesn’t take long before the retirement home is all-abuzz about their new incoming resident.
Jean Horton (Maggie Smith) was once married to Reginald but there is such bitterness for him. Jean is a diva and expects everyone else to treat her accordingly. This causes problems for the group and as October 10th and Verdi’s birthday approaches it is time to come to terms with old feelings again.
FINAL WORD: There are so many stand out performances that its difficult to know where to start so lets just dive in. Courtenay as Reginald is the stiffest most delicate character in the film. It is obvious he still has feelings for his ex-wife but will do anything possible to make sure SHE doesn’t know it.
Collins as Cissy is sweet and beautiful but sad. To watch her character go from one extreme to the other there is just that hope while watching the movie that Cissy will make it to the celebration – if only for that one last memory.
Smith as diva Jean is exactly what I would expect from Ms. Smith! I just love her total dedication to being a diva in public and keeping that persona alive and well but, in private, watching her realize that she needed each and everyone one of her friends.
Connolly as Wilf is hilarious and the total comedic performer in this film. Although I have to admit that anything Connolly does always gets my attention, in this film he is soft, sweet and lovely surrounded by the guise of an affection crazed retiree!
This is the first film Dustin Hoffman has directed since the 1978 film STRAIGHT TIME. Oddly enough Maggie Smith filmed another movie called QUARTET in 1981 but the title is the only thing the films have in common.
Other cast include: Sheridan Smith as Dr. Lucy Cogan, Andrew Sachs as Bobby Swanson, Gwyneth Jones as Anne Langley, Trevor Peacock as George, David Ryall as Harry, Michael Byrne as Frank White, Ronnie Fox as Nobby, Patricia Loveland as Letitia Davis, Eline Powell as Angelique and Luke Newberry as Simon.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give QUARTET four tubs of popcorn out of five. This truly an amazing, heart warming, hilarious, and brilliant piece of filmmaking. This came from a year of good solid stories from amazing performances from British actors. QUARTET is going to reach not only a musical audience but Hoffman fans as well.
The DVD Blu-ray includes a feature commentary with director Dustin Hoffman and a Hoffman behind-the-scenes featurettes. This film was nominated for the 2013 Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actress for Maggie Smith.
It was also voted one of the Top Ten Independent Films of 2012 by the National Board of Review and winner of the Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award for Dustin Hoffman at the Hollywood Film Festival.
In the end – its not a retirement home, it’s a madhouse!