A retirement home rests among beautiful grounds in the British countryside. The residents go about their day – eating breakfast, checking in with their nurses, and belting out a stirring chorus before lunch.
This is no ordinary centre, but a home for retired musicians. The place is ramping up for their yearly benefit gala, where the state of the nearly bankrupt retirement home rests in the balance.
To sell enough tickets to keep the centre running, this year’s performance has to be irresistible, but with a shortage of star power the gala’s perfectionist director Cedric (Michael Gambon), sees little hope.
That is until Jean (Maggie Smith) begrudgingly enters the property. A retired opera singer, she is just what the gala needs, and everyone is convinced that if Jean sings the gala will be a huge success. There is one minor, uptight problem – Jean doesn’t sing anymore.
Getting Jean back on stage takes a lot of convincing from three long time residents, the scandalous Wilf (Billy Connolly), the forgetful but loveable Cissy (Pauline Collins), and Jean’s disgruntled ex-husband Reginald (Tom Courtenay). But as the trio finds out, dealing with this former diva will try all their patience.
An all-star cast brings a lot of expectation, coupled with the name pulling capabilities of Dustin Hoffman as director. While the acting is good, the pace is slow and predictable, but the main issue was the ending didn’t satisfy the build up. Maggie’s character is unsympathetic, and though as a diva, she’s supposed to be, the lack of warmth does little to encourage affection. All this said (and sorry it was a bit) it is a refreshingly different movie that will appeal especially to an older audience. Many of the cast are real musicians, adding a touch of authenticity (not to mention great voices and instrumentation) to the film.
Help Maggie Smith find her voice, in Quartet, in cinemas now!
Category: Film & TV