“The Quartet” – 1 hr 37 mins. Director: Dustin Hoffman Comedy/Tragedy All-star cast: Meggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Sheridan Smith
As the residents of Beecham House, an English retirement home for former artisans, prepare for their annual fundraising event in celebration of Verdi’s birthday, they flounder for a lead opera singer to complete a quartet (of opera stars). Enter the Grand Dame of Opera, Jean Horton (played by Maggie Smith).
The viewer watches as petty rivalries, artistic temperaments, prima donnas and theatrics threaten to end the performance before it begins. We are left to the final moment of the film to figure out if the show, indeed, does goes on. There is something extraordinary with these films of our seniors; they show such richness of character. Actors of such depth come only with time and experience often not found in main-stream Hollywood. Every cast member is a pro, every actor challenges you to figure out whether you are more anguished or joyful for them. It leaves you with a sort of aching melancholy of what once was.
Hoffman did a exemplary job in drenching the film with an entourage of real-life former artists: Opera singers, Directors, Actors, Musicians and filled the back drop of this movie with them. If you think you recognize someone in a backdrop, you probably have. Wait till the final seconds of the movie and see if you were right… An endearing way to end the movie. ★★★★ Plus