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Quartet 2013

PG-13 CC

At a home for retired opera singers, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi is disrupted by the arrival of Jean (Maggie Smith), an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.

Starring:
Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay
Runtime:
1 hour, 38 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Dustin Hoffman
Starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay
Supporting actors Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs, Gwyneth Jones, Trevor Peacock, David Ryall, Michael Byrne, Ronnie Fox, Patricia Loveland, Eline Powell, Luke Newberry, Shola Adewusi, Jumayn Hunter, Aleksandra Duczmal, Denis Khoroshko, Sarah Crowden
Studio The Weinstein Company
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jay B. Lane TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 24, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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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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3 Comments 102 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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