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:: Quartet

‘Quartet’ is unashamedly aimed at an older audience, but that certainly shouldn’t put you off if you’re of the younger generation and enjoy a good film. Because age demographic aside ‘Quartet’ is an enjoyable film that is likely to provide a chuckle or two along the way. Directed by legendary actor, Dustin Hoffman (who hasn’t directed a film since 1978’s Straight Time) ‘Quartet’ finds three members of England’s once-most talented opera quartet living together in a retirement home for retired musicians under the charge of young doctor, Dr. Lucy Cogan (Sheridan Smith).

The first member of the group is Reginald (Tom Courtenay) who seems so active and ‘with-it’ it would appear he has gone into the home too early. He is still extremely active and keeps his mind going by passing on his musical knowledge to young students. When asked why he went into the home he always says he is in there to be with his best friend, Wilf (Billy Connolly) who has lost the ability to censor himself after a stroke affected his brain. Rounding out the group is Cissy (Pauline Collins) who knows suffers from such severe dementia that she constantly needs to be reminded what she should be doing.

The trio’s world is turned upside down though when the new resident who moves in just happens to be Jean (Maggie Smith) – the missing member of their quartet. While Cissy and Wilf thinks it would be great to get Jean to rejoin their quartet so they can perform in a gala night being put together by the extremely bossy Cedric (Michael Gambon). It seems like a good idea however Jean seems like she is reluctant to ever perform again while poor Reginald is at a loss at what to do as Jean once broke his heart.

Hoffman brings together a wonderfully brilliant film that certainly captivates it’s audience, but that doesn't mean that he hasn't made a couple of mistakes along the well. On the surface the idea of having the central characters played by actors and the other residents in the home being played by some of the Europe’s finest opera performers and musicians seems like a great idea, however during the film the ‘others’ seem to get dangerously out-acted by what can only be described as an A-List of some of the United Kingdom’s finest actors.

No matter your age you will find yourself drawn to the characters of ‘Quartet’. It’s a heartfelt story and let’s be honest you don’t have to be in this film’s demographic to know what heart ache or the lack of self-worth feels like. Don’t take any notice of the advertising this really is a film that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

Of course as you would expect one of the standouts about ‘Quartet’ are the acting performances. As usual Maggie Smith is brilliant while Pauline Collins also does a fabulous job. But even they seem to be outdone by Michael Gambon who seems to embrace a slight comedic part while Billy Connolly leaves everybody in his wake and he gathers up laughs left, right and centre. ‘Quartet’ is a great little film that reminds us all that you don’t need a big budget, just a great script, to work as a cinema piece.