This is a rather nice, sweet film. It’s unlikely to change anyone’s world, but may well provide a nice night out at the cinema if you like this sort of thing.
Funnily enough, Quartet, based on Ronal Harwood’s stage play, is the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman. It’s a bit of a safe bet – a cosy comedy drama about an old people’s home for retired musicians, starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connelly – but Hoffman keeps the charm levels high.
The cast offer some beautifully crafted performances (including great support offered by the likes of Michael Gambon, Andrew Sachs and Sheridan Smith) But then again, they are some of Britain’s greatest actors, so that’s to be expected. Apart from their acting talent, there isn’t really anything very substantial to this film apart from some rather nice cinematography by John de Borman.
Though there are some funny lines, too much of the comedy is derived from Maggie Smith saying ‘fuck’. Well, she is from Essex. But although there may well be something amusing about the Dowager Countess of Grantham throwing out the odd expletive, it gets a little repetitive after a while.
In an age when inverted snobbery towards classical music is all too common, it’s nice to see a film that celebrates it and the power it can have. But the movie is over all-too suddenly, and in the end Quartet feels like an all-too-brief preview of a longer, stronger film.
Quartet (2013), directed by Dustin Hoffman, is distributed in the UK by Momentum Pictures, Certificate 12A.