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Quartet (2012)

Maggie Smith , Tom Courtenay , Dustin Hoffman  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,019 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay
  • Directors: Dustin Hoffman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Twc
  • DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,019 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AZMFO6I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,853 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Quartet" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman has never been one to zig when he can zag. Not only did he wait until he was in his mid-70s to direct his first feature film, but his crowd-pleasing adaptation of Ronald Harwood's 1999 play is a thoroughly British affair. Set at one of England's most scenic estates, the fictional Beecham House for Retired Musicians, Quartet centers on four opera singers. Cecily (Pauline Collins), Wilfred (Billy Connolly), and Reginald (Tom Courtenay, who appeared in Harwood's The Dresser) are busy preparing for the annual Verdi Gala when word spreads about a famous new resident. After Reggie catches sight of the elegant figure, his excitement about the benefit gives way to sorrow: it's his ex-wife, Jean (Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith). If the amusingly acid-tongued Jean appears to have moved on--she's married twice since--Reggie hasn't, and still blames her for the failure of their brief marriage. Under the directorship of the supremely self-satisfied Cedric (Michael Gambon), the entire facility continues to rehearse for the concert, except Jean, who says she's retired from singing, though her former partners long to perform their acclaimed version of Verdi's Rigoletto. As they concentrate on persuading her to reconsider, the ice between Reggie and Jean starts to thaw just as Cissy's memory starts to fade, but priorities shift as old friends become reacquainted. If Quartet doesn't offer many significant surprises, Hoffman skillfully honors the humor, the romance, and the wall-to-wall music--most played by veteran performers--of Harwood's warm-hearted script. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Beecham House is abuzz. The rumor circling the halls is that the home for retired musicians is soon to play host to a new resident. Word is, it's a star. For Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), Wilfred Bond (Billy Connolly) and Cecily Robson (Pauline Collins) this sort of talk is par for the course at the gossipy home. But they're in for a special shock when the new arrival turns out to be none other than their former singing partner, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). Her subsequent career as a star soloist, and the ego that accompanied it, split up their long friendship and ended her marriage to Reggie, who takes the news of her arrival particularly hard. Can the passage of time heal old wounds? And will the famous quartet be able to patch up their differences in time for Beecham House's gala concert?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
299 of 307 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2012 Quartet, NOT Merchant Ivory! January 24, 2013
Format:DVD
Here is a cast to die for, playing characters in a home for retired opera singers; they are preparing for their annual celebration of Verdi's birthday. But there is a "spanner (wrench) in the works" when a former diva arrives, in the person of Maggie Smith. Based on the play by Ronald Harwood and directed by first-timer Dustin Hoffman, this delicious PG-13 comedy bathes us in classical music, witty dialogue and a lovely setting. In fact the opening credits include some of the finest editing I've had the pleasure to enjoy in recent years. Kudos to Barney Pilling for the film editing; Ben Smith for the art direction; and Dustin Hoffman for respecting the music.

The world of opera is a relatively small one, so it is no surprise that a few of these divas and divos have a shared "history," and therein lies our tale.

Let's look at some of this wonderful cast:
* Maggie Smith ("Downton Abbey") is Jean, who always had at least 12 curtain calls but hasn't been in the spotlight for far too long!
* Michael Gambon ("Harry Potter") is Cedric, in charge of the star-studded gala, with a towering ego of his own.
* Billy Connolly ("Brave") is Wilf, proof positive that an old horn dog never quits sniffing around.
* Tom Courtenay ("Gambit") is Reggie, a kind, considerate fellow who is still nursing a broken heart.
* Pauline Collins ("You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger") is Cissy, the sweet busybody who can't think of one bad thing to say about anyone.

Just a couple of important tips: 1) If you have any hearing problems, either see this in a theater that features closed captions, or wait for the DVD with Amazon.com so you can turn on the subtitles.
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154 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never-Neverland Revisited January 27, 2013
Format:DVD
Beecham House, the setting of this film, is an English country estate, a posh historical mansion surrounded by acres of park and garden. It's autumn, the leaves are gorgeous, Golden Pond was never so scenic, and the inhabitants -- a couple dozen octogenarian "retired professional musicians living on charity -- are effectively in Paradise. They're a handsome crowd too, these oldsters with much of their talent and all of their ego intact. Not an oxygen tank or a movable chemo-drip in sight! Alzheimer's, senility, dementia? Acknowledged but quaintly innocuous. Crotchets and squabbles? No worse than among younger folk. A doctor in residence and a staff of sympathetic nurses? Hey, nothing but the ritz for beloved stars of yestershow! A real place? Don't we wish, we soon-to-be-aged musicians! It's fantasyland, but I'm NOT complaining. The film is too visually luscious not to be appreciated, and the acting is too artful not to be admired.

Bill Connolly has the "Peter Pan" role as Wilfred, the irrepressible flirt and funster of Beecham House. Pauline Collins is the sparkly but memory-challenged Cecily, the perfect Tinkerbell to run errands and deliver messages in this musical Neverland. Tom Courtenay is Reginald, earnest and unimpaired though subtly challenged by his own realism in this kingdom of Children Who Decline to Grow Old. Maggie Smith is the haughty, acerbic narcissistic super-diva Jean, to whom falls the Captain Hook role of antagonist. We the audience all know that she'll be captured eventually, conquered by joie de vivre, and join the Lost Boys in their climactic gala rumpus. Great fun! Who doesn't love Peter Pan?

"Getting old is what people do," says Reginald somewhere in the middle of the film, and ain't that the bleary-eyed truth!
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure if you have to be over the hill (as I am), to love this movie (as I did) about a home for retired musicians, but it certainly appears that way to me after coming home and reading A. O. Scott's middling New York Times review and its online reader responses, which seem to be either total disdain or absolute delight and nothing in between.

It probably helps to have a lifelong love of classical music, especially opera, with just a smidgen of Gilbert & Sullivan & vaudeville mixed in.

While, as expected, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Michael Gambon are superb in the leading roles, the supporting player-musicians, who also inhabit the beautiful, scenic Beecham House, some of whom are familiar faces but most of whom I'd never heard of, are a joy to behold as well. Please be sure to stay for the closing credits where you'll see headshots of each of them as they are now and as they were in a key role from their heydays.

No one sums it up better than Ann Hornaday in her rave review in the January 24, 2013 Washington Post: "Smoothly navigating the perilous line between insufferably twee and heartbreakingly grim, "Quartet" is a subtle, sure-footed delight -- made all the more enjoyable by the fact that it was directed by a 75-year-old first-timer named Dustin Hoffman. Judging from this debut, the kid's got a future."

RE THE DVD EXTRAS: There's a batch of short clips of the leading actors talking about the movie and what it was like to work with Hoffman. But my fave is Hoffman's commentary track.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
ok -- didn't love it
Published 7 hours ago by Shirley K Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 minutes of senior moments
Enjoyable, light, quirky romantic comedy with lots of 'senior moment' style jokes. The drama in the relationship between Jean and Reggie seems a bit stretched - it probably should... Read more
Published 1 day ago by John Holme
5.0 out of 5 stars We all enjoyed it very much
I got this to share w/ elderly women. We all enjoyed it very much.
Published 1 day ago by Ling
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable for fans of classical music and opera, ...
Very enjoyable for fans of classical music and opera, well acted as always by Maggie Smith and Tom Courtney and other British stars and well directed by Dustin Hoffman. Read more
Published 4 days ago by The Professor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent....
Published 4 days ago by fannie harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Quartet
I saw this at the university and enjoyed it. I bought it because I wanted to share it with friends. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Barbara A. Schultz
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed
A real sleeper. Such a high quality film. I will see this one over and over.
Published 5 days ago by Ron Kleckner
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it over and over!
This movie is just amazing! My husband complained about having to watch it....once it started he was hooked! Great for any music lover to watch over and over again!
Published 6 days ago by Lisa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
i adored this film
Published 7 days ago by shirley ahquin
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and simple film worth your time
Fun and sweet great for folding laundry and relaxing
Published 8 days ago by Jenni
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