Film review – Quartet

“This isn’t a retirement home.  This is a mad house!”

Filmmakers have finally realised that a large proportion of the cinema audience is of retirement age and have began to address this with the films they produce.  I’m not sure what took them so long to realise this, but think it’s a good thing that they will be more balance to what we see on the big screen in future.

Quartet sees the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman, in the film version of the play by Ronald Harwood; (Harwood also wrote the screenplay).  The film is centred around Beecham House for Retired Musicians, it is a very lively place and you could easily mistake it for rehearsal studios.  There are various colourful characters residing at Beecham House and much interest is generated by the arrival of the once world renowned opera singer Jean Horton, (played by Maggie Smith).  Ms Horton does not share the enthusiasm the other residents have for Beecham House, nor the prospect of a virtually forced reunion with associates from her past.

This film has a fine cast and I had high hopes, but was left feeling a little underwhelmed….  Perhaps it is unfair to compare it to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel given that film is set in India, but I had expected it to be on par with it, and it isn’t.  All of the actors give a fine performance, but I feel they are let down by the storyline which was a little thin on the ground.  Perhaps delving a into the lives of some of the less central characters would have helped.  It has poignant moments which are handled well, but it is also billed as a comedy.  I would say it is more amusing than funny.  If you go to see it without expectations you may enjoy it more, but I was left disappointed.

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