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Kvartett (2012) Online

Kvartett (2012) Online
Original Title :
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Drama
Year :
Directror :
Dustin Hoffman
Cast :
Maggie Smith,Michael Gambon,Billy Connolly
Writer :
Ronald Harwood,Ronald Harwood
Budget :
Type :
Time :
1h 34min
Rating :

At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.

Kvartett (2012) Online

Cecily, Reggie, and Wilfred are in a home for retired musicians. Every year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday and they take part. Jean, who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva, but she refuses to sing. Still, the show must go on... and it does.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Maggie Smith Maggie Smith - Jean Horton
Tom Courtenay Tom Courtenay - Reggie Paget
Billy Connolly Billy Connolly - Wilf Bond
Pauline Collins Pauline Collins - Cissy Robson
Michael Gambon Michael Gambon - Cedric Livingstone
Sheridan Smith Sheridan Smith - Dr. Lucy Cogan
Andrew Sachs Andrew Sachs - Bobby Swanson
Gwyneth Jones Gwyneth Jones - Anne Langley (as Dame Gwyneth Jones)
Trevor Peacock Trevor Peacock - George
David Ryall David Ryall - Harry
Michael Byrne Michael Byrne - Frank White
Ronnie Fox Ronnie Fox - Nobby
Patricia Loveland Patricia Loveland - Letitia Davis
Eline Powell Eline Powell - Angelique
Luke Newberry Luke Newberry - Simon

Maggie Smith recommended Pauline Collins to director Dustin Hoffman for the part of Cissy.

Most of the supporting cast were retired professional musicians.

Dustin Hoffman's first completed directorial effort. In 1978, he began directing Straight Time (1978), but after a few days, he decided it was too difficult to both star and direct, and asked Ulu Grosbard to take over.

Ronald Harwood wrote the part of Wilf for Albert Finney, who had worked with Tom Courtenay on The Dresser (1983). Finney was forced to turn down the role due to ill health and Peter O'Toole was cast to replace him. Before shooting began, O'Toole concluded that he was unable to survive the rigors of a film shoot and he was replaced by Billy Connolly.

Child violinists Isla Mathieson and Iona Mathieson use their own names as the character names.

Beecham House, named after Sir Thomas Beecham, is modeled after La Casa di Riposo per Musicisti founded by Giuseppe Verdi.

Maggie Smith also starred in another film named Quartet (1981) about 31 years earlier. However, the only similarities between the two movies are the title and Smith.

This marks as the 8th collaboration between Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon. They appeared in Othello (1965), Госфорд Парк (2001) and also in five films from the Harry Potter franchise.

Sarah Crowden (Felicity Liddle) is the daughter of Graham Crowden who was the star of Waiting for God (1990), a series with settings and characters very similar to this movie.

Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Smith worked together - as actors - previously in Hook (1991): Hoffman played Captain Hook and Smith played Granny Wendy. In this film, they work together as director (Hoffman) and actor (Smith).

The principal actors were trained to sing but the scene of them singing the titular quartet from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto was cut from the movie.

User reviews



I saw this in Savannah (Film Festival), with a crowd that was averaging 50 and above. Everybody was laughing through out the whole picture, when I came out of the theater everybody only said nice things about it, I have never seen so many old people come out of a theater so happy!!!

Please see this film, NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE. People don't make movies for such a demographic, or at least rarely, this movie quite frankly made me weep, laugh, and have a range of feeling that I have not experience from any picture released this year!

Some moments hit you hard man, real hard, you might be laughing one scene and then the next scene you just realized that the 'thumb up' from one old man to the next gives chills on how life can end at any moment and at any time.

Dustin Hoffman, my man, you have made many people, many seniors of this country really happy, you have done what most always want but never will.

Thank You, to the cast and to the crew!!!!!


What remarkable good fortune that Dustin Hoffman chose this Ronald Harwood play (and screenplay) for his directorial debut at age 75. This is a movie for actors, and there are many terrific performances in this wonderful ensemble piece about the residents of a home for aging musicians, which we saw at our movie preview club.

But the warmth of the story - the vibrancy of the seniors playing string quartets and practicing their cellos and clarinets, their friendships, annoyances, disappointments, and even loves - marks this film as something very special.

Hoffman has taken a beautiful English estate and turned it into a world of music filled with well-drawn and compelling characters: the woman with advancing dementia who relishes the CD of her performing Rigoletto 40 years ago; the flirtatious Wilf, whose "advances" towards the women on staff are never offensive and always charming; the aging diva - the always wonderful Maggie Smith - who is horrified by the thought that by moving in her life is over.

The best drawn (and in my mind, played) character is Wilf's best friend Reggie, who doesn't get Wilf's preferential treatment but has a quiet dignity and love of his life and his art that quietly shines through. His scene teaching students by comparing opera and rap may be this film's best.

Reggie is played by one of the most underrated and powerful British actors of his time, the estimable Tom Courtenay. It's hard to believe it's been 50 years since he starred as a 25-year-old in The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner. In a performance of grace, nuance, and elegance, Courtenay outshines even Maggie Smith. Perhaps he's inspired by working again from a Harwood screenplay; it was Harwood who wrote The Dresser, an excellent 1983 vehicle for Courtenay and Albert Finney.

One more note: Finney was apparently supposed to play the Wilf role, but unfortunately was not up to it health-wise. But comedian Billy Connolly's performance is just splendid.

See this movie!


As a 16 year old, it's safe to say that this obviously is not a film which is aimed at me at all, being based in a retirement home for old musicians where cracking jokes about opera is, you know, hilarious. In fact, the screening I was in was filled with those with white hair. It's not often that I feel out of place at a cinema, but I on this occasion I did.

Quartet, as you probably know, features a stellar cast of older actors; Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay playing the reunited divorcées with a history; Billy Connolly as a pottering and senile old tenor, cracking double-entendres at every opportunity; and Pauline Collins, who in my opinion steals the show, as the ditzy ex-opera singer. What follows is an unashamedly predictable, but nevertheless solidly crafted and amusing drama that wouldn't look out of place on a Sunday afternoon TV slot. Minus the f-words, of course. Yes ,you can see its development from a mile off, and it rarely addresses the more serious and harrowing aspects of old-age as Haneke's 'Amour' did, but it's good natured, well scripted and amusing fun.

It's all through the typical rose-tinted, Downton-esque portrayal of Britain that we're all accustomed to, but with a cast like that and a gentle, sweet story, it's hard not to be eventually won over by its charm. I had a good time.


"Quartet" is the filmization of Ronald Harwood's 1999 play with the screenplay by the author. The story is set in a retirement home for musicians named for Sir Thomas Beecham. Plans are underway for the annual concert fundraiser to coincide with Verdi's birthday. Heading the gala committee is Cedric played by Michael Gambon. Kudos to Mr. Gambon for rocking the caftan like no one since George Zucco in "Tarzan and the Mermaids". One of Cedric's committee members is soprano Cissy played by the delightful Pauline Collins. Cissy is a "getting worse" in that her memory is failing. Her old stage partner Wilfred is the resident naughty man of the home played by Billy Connolly in his familiar raucous way. Wilfred delights in flirting outrageously with all the women and needling Cedric. The more sedate Reg played by Tom Courtenay came to the home to check on Wilf who had been admitted after a slight stroke. Here Reg found his niche in caring for his friends and holding classes for young people.

Into this garden spot comes a new resident, a noted opera star played by Maggie Smith. Jean is known to all and her appearance is less than appreciated by her former husband Reg. Her arrival shakes up his whole existence. There is also another "star" in residence brilliantly cast with Dame Gweneth Jones. The dagger-like looks that flash between the two divas, when the term meant more than demanding behavior, is worth the price of admission.

Jean's adjustment to the retirement home and a crisis with the annual gala are the concerns of the present. Reg's torment over the presence of his lost love makes old wounds fresh. Life is definitely not retiring in this home because, as Cissy is fond of quoting Bette Davis' remark, "old age is not for sissies".

Director Hoffman gives us many quiet moments to observe the entire ensemble as life swirls around the preparations for the all-important concert. We get to know the patient piano teacher/accompanist, the old song and dance men, the lifelong choristers, the pit musicians and the staff of the home, along with our "quartet". I laughed, I cried, I laughed again, and I cared. Highly recommended.


It isn't often one can say "I loved every moment", but for this film it's true! Never for an instant does Dustin Hoffman stray into overwrought drama, mawkishness or bathos: his direction is restrained and subtle, there is humour a-plenty, yet the film packs a powerful emotional punch. And with a cast like that, how could he lose? And that's not just the stars, although they create wonderfully satisfying characters: the "minor" characters are also perfectly realised. Plus, the settings!!!! I felt like rushing off to make a booking at Beecham's for my old age! With such a great ensemble cast we are well-served, though for me, Pauline Collins was a stand-out - funny and so touching. I think I'd like to see it again.


Firstly let me answer those who have stated that the senility was over-acted for comic effect. IT WAS NOT. My mother worked in aged care for many years, and I grew up with all this about me. It's exactly like that. It was brilliantly done, all of it, all the actors... and wasn't it a treat to see all the old opera and stage stars?

Some ''official'' critics, (and by the way, what exactly '?' qualifies one to critique anything? I've seen more films than most of these people, I'd guess), have said this film lacked the BIG moments. IT DID NOT. The moments are there, you just have to know people - humanity.

It did lack being smacked over the head repeatedly with the obvious...so I guess those bred on a diet of Hollywood(our viewers are so stupid we must hand-hold all the way through and belabour the most self evident details)MOVIES, aren't going to be thrilled or interested. I was. I also like Alien and Predator movies, so it's not being said with any sort of bias. If you liked Enchanted April, and The Whales of August, The Grass Harp, and Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, you'll like this a lot.


There are two obvious reasons to see this film. One is that it's Dustin Hoffman's directing debut. The other is that any film with Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon is very unlikely to be less than very good.

As it turns out, the film - set in a retirement home for classical musicians - is simply perfect: touching and amusing from the start, with generous but judicious doses of lovely music, shifting gears in an in-obtrusively sure-footed way. Billy Connolly (who was once a presence in my local hang-out) is about as close to his real self here as in any part I've seen him play: ribald, mischievous and large-hearted; the shameless jokester and flirt you nonetheless know you can always depend on. Courtenay is heart-rendingly endearing from the start, in the most quiet, under-stated way. Maggie Smith shows far more range than her now- stock Grande Dame parts usually allow her, including an unaccustomed vulnerability and a charming exercise, at one moment, of calculated yet shy girlish charm.

As one would expect from a director who is a great actor himself, the palette of characters here is vividly and colorfully incarnated by actors who are often memorable even in the most minor parts.

The music is both respectfully and affectionately integrated throughout, moving from noble classical pieces to a cheerful bit of music hall. And is paid a surprising homage in the credits, which continue the film's nod to age and accomplishment well past its not very surprising but still satisfying end.

Very few viewers, by the way, will sense the echos here - but no more - of a lovely French film from 1935 about a retirement home for actors: "La Fin du Jour":


Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist", "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", etc) tells a very different story, but anyone who enjoys this one and understands enough French should certainly seek out the older film (with the great Michel Simon).


After years of acting and two Oscars under his belt, Dustin Hoffman finally takes a turn behind the camera in his directorial debut for Quartet.

Based on Ronald Harwood's play of the same name, the film takes place at Beecham House, a home where retired opera singers Cissy (Pauline Collins), Reginald (Tom Courtenay) and Wilf (Billy Connolly) live. Formally part of a quartet, every year the three take part in a concert to celebrate composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday. But when Jean (Maggie Smith), the fourth member of their group arrives at the seniors' home, things get complicated. As she is the ex-wife of fellow member Reginald, old rivalries, theatrical temperaments and drama evidently ensues and it becomes unclear whether or not the show will go on.

While the film never gets any more drastic than this, it is delightfully charming to see veteran actors Smith, Courtenay, Connolly and Collins strut their stuff. With Smith perfectly playing the slightly narcissistic queen bee of the group, even Michael Gambon makes an appearance as the eccentric lead coordinator of the concert. But as we see Courtenay's Reggie harbour old feelings for his ex-wife and Collins play the lovable confidante Cissy, it's Connolly who steals the show as the hilariously lustful Wilf.

Although there isn't much material to let the actors stretch their acting capabilities, Quartet is a pleasure to watch. Although it pokes fun at old age and shows the fears of becoming a has-been, it's the performances by the film's legendary actors that make Hoffman's endearing tale what it is.


Yesterday afternoon was pure joy because Diane and I watched Hoffman's directorial début of a delightful movie that showcases some of the best in British acting. Superficially the subject matter would seem to be less than enthralling: an old folk's home putting on an end of year concert to raise money to keep the home working. Ha, the devil is in the details and these details set the entire story on a different plane of reality; this home is exclusively for retired concert musicians both orchestral and operatic. The level of professional attainment means that the audience for this "end of year finale" can attract people that will pay Covent Garden prices to attend such a stellar concert. The movie's casting is remarkable because the person that carries the show is Billy Connelly who enlivens the interaction with staff and residents to a degree that only his repartee can produce. Suffice it to say that his banter means that, for an old guy like me, there is never a dull spot in the movie. The drama is interjected by Maggie Smith who does it with the aplomb for which she is known. I also think that Dustin Hoffman did a remarkable job in this, his first, outing as a director. Diane and I both believe that this is a hugely enjoyable movie and should be seen by any person interested in the art of film making.


This is the sort of film I normally strenuously go out of my way to avoid: the feel-good movie, especially the feel-good movie (Billy Elliot comes to mind) in which characters find "redemption" and "meaning" through Art. As a rule, the Brits do this kind of film much better (Brassed Off, the Full Monty) than Hollywood (no examples I would care to cite, I haven't had my breakfast yet); this is a hybrid, being a British written and produced movie, with an American director (Dustin Hoffman) making his directorial debut at the tender age of 74.

So, why did I go to see this? "The Big Yin", Billy Connolly, of course. I dote on the man: all it takes is an imitation (and I believe that every single British comedian, of either gender, has one) to make me smile. So, aye, I knew at some point I was going to have to see this, and I am happy enough to have seen it on the big screen (there, I just did one). The acting from the entire cast is, of course, first rate; how not, when the cast is headed by Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Pauline Collins, and the great Tom Courtenay? With all respect to my main man, Billy Connolly, Courtenay's performance is what drives the picture; I'm old, and this man has been appearing on screen since before I was even born. We are talking some serious actor's chops here.

As for the story, it's just one of those: "will they get the Gala on stage and save this wonderful home, where they can be themselves and inspire future generations?" What do you think? I can't say that I noticed the direction, one way or the other: I suppose you would have to categorize Dustin Hoffman as an "actors' director", which is what's called for in a film like this. For me, the best part of the film was the end credits, where the actors' names were accompanied by head shots from when they appeared in opera companies and symphony orchestras way back in the day.


My daughters and I ventured into post-festive cinema experience, and waded though queues of elderly people, obviously taking advantage of the chance to see a film that they could relate to, the queen being the only octogenarian known to leap from helicopters in this day and age. What we found was that, despite the endless trailers and publicity, there lurked a decent film, with skilled and talented cast and beautiful music, in a splendid setting, telling a nice story. Because that's what it is: a nice story. The various characters don't matter - they were all executed with stunning reliability - and musical numbers from Flanagan and Allen (no, Andrew Sachs was NOT either of those)via the Mikado (three very unlikely little maids)to the quartet from Rigoletto. The dialogue was witty and the moments thought-provoking. Even the wealthy and famous have to age and die, but to be able to end ones days in such surroundings must make it all worthwhile. Kudos to Dustin Hoffman (but how hard could it have been?) and to all who worked on what is ultimately a work of art.


I cried tears of joy at the end of this wonderful movie. The acting, the sets, the country side and most of all, the story. This comedy-drama revolves around a home for retired musicians, patterned after the real-life Casa di Riposo per Musicisti founded by Giuseppe Verdi. The annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents. Maggie Smith is a remarkable actor, and she is at her finest here. Michael Gambon has the most intense air about him, Pauline Collins is a delight to watch and, of course, Bill Connolly is a wee bit over the top here, though a delight to watch as well. This is a beautiful story, told by many talented actors and it deserves to be seen. Brava!


Well, speak of the devil - just the other year I asked my lady-friend "whatever became of Dustin Hoffman?" - and here he is with his first work as director. And it's a really nice film, too! A nursing home for retired musicians, situated in the lush landscape of rural England, forms the refined stage for this adapted play. The financial future of said home depends on the success of the yearly gala concert to honor Verdi's birthday, and if you think you can guess the script from this description you're probably right since the story unfolds in a pretty formulaic way, no, thank you, no risk with my tea today. A love-gone-wrong, a little jealousy, health problems are thrown at our wrinkled protagonists but nothing can avert the happy outcome! Though formulaic, I'll recommend this film: The acting is very fine, the comedy is well-timed, and the music is very good. Plus, it manages to stay on the healthy side of sentimental, it's absolutely no tear-jerker. And stay for the end credits!

A note on the actors: Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly carry the comedic parts and do so with obvious joy.

Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay are Jean and Reggie, a couple with a past, on whom the plot centers. Maggie Smith's performance is flawless; Tom Courtenay looks a bit wooden opposite her (or is it the role?).

Since the couple's love story is a bit dry and shallow, the key role in "Quartet", though, falls to Pauline Collins as Cissy - the emotional heart of the film. It's not a fine line, but rather a very wide area between "sane" and "demented", and Pauline Collins boldly explores the expanse of this terrifying region and hits every single note, be it unwitting comedy or devastating fear and disorientation or childlike trust. Often actors impersonating disabled persons limit themselves to a few ticks (Mr. Hoffman himself has some experience here I believe); with Collins' versatile performance you're never sure how "here" or "there" she is at the moment as is true with real-life demented persons.


Warning: Despite the name being the same, this has no relation to the film by Somerset Maugham.

After the success of "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", I assume that some producers thought to try to replicate the film's success. This might explain why both films are about groups of British retirees and star Maggie Smith--and why both came out only about a year apart.

The film occurs in Britain at a place called Beecham House--a retirement home for musical artists. The residents are planning their annual Verdi's Birthday Celebration Benefit and the oldsters are rehearsing. Then, into this relatively calm environment comes one woman--one woman whose presence upsets everything. This diva (Maggie Smith) is completely self-absorbed but what's worse, she's the ex-wife of one of the people who planned on performing at this event. Much of the film is a character study of this woman as well as the influence she has on everyone. Much of the film also is a study of life for the aging--their ups and downs.

While this plot is quite simple, the film manages to work very well because the acting is so darned nice. The four leads from the quartet, Smith, Tom Courtnay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins are just marvelous. Much of this is due to their fine acting and the writing and much must be the result of the direction by first-time director Dustin Hoffman (yes, THAT one). He seemed to have a real deft eye. Plus, the music really helped--both seeing operatic songs sung by actual retired opera stars and the incidental music. I don't even like opera but found myself pulled into the story by the music. Well done all around and a film for folks willing to fore go explosions and high drama for excellent acting and an enjoyable story.


'Quartet' marks the directing debut for Dustin Hoffman, who is now five years shy of 80, and the two make a great pairing, just like a good wine and cheese. Hoffman took his cues from Ronald Harwood's play and from a documentary from the 80s that showcased a retirement home for famous musicians and singers. With its stellar cast, charming characters, witty dialogue, and amazing music ranging from The Mikado to the Rigoletto, 'Quartet' is not to be missed.

The cast is mostly made up of actual musicians and singers and with the help of a few veteran actors, this story of aging and music should play to not only older audiences, but to younger ones as well. The film takes place at the luxurious Beecham House, which is in the beautiful countryside of England, and looks like it's from a fairy tale from its lavish rooms and fabrics to the many gazebos, ponds, and trails throughout the entire place. Hell, I'd want to live there. Here, music is life, and for it's residents who are all above 75 spend their days and nights playing music and singing still. You see, this is a retirement center for famous opera singers and musicians, which include a famous tenor named Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), who still sings and teaches a class to young kids every week on opera. He even mixes in rap to keep his young audience listening, all the while, he feels young too as he can be found listening to various rap songs in his room alone.

As Hoffman's camera moves through the fancy house, we meet Sissy (Pauline Collins), a forgetful yet lovable singer who tries to make everybody's day brighter. Then there is Wilf Bond (Billy Connolly), who was once a singer, but now roams the hallways cracking jokes and trying to get laid whenever he can, but has no success ever. These two characters are so genuine and funny that you can't help but fall instantly in love with them.

A bit of of excitement fills the Beecham House as the annual Verdi Gala is coming up, where most of the fund raising for the year is held to keep the home open and functioning. This is also where all of the tenants of the home get to put on their fancy dresses, get in full costume and make up and put on a show, just like they did when they were younger, all under the direction of Cedric (Michael Gambon), who might be the biggest diva in the room. The other bit of anticipation is that everyone in the house knows that a new tenant will be staying with them, and the rumor is that it is a big star.

Well that star finally arrives and it is the famed opera singer Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), who is reluctant to at first to talk with her former colleagues or participate in any programs, let alone lunch or dinner. It is also much to Reginald's dismay that Jean is there as they were once married, but divorced due to Jean having an affair. However, as they say, the show must go on, and Cedric wants the original 'Quartet' to sing the Rigoletto once more for the Gala, which consists of Sissy, Reginald, Wilf, and Jean. Everybody has agreed with the exception of Jean, and the other three hope they can convince her in time before the Gala to perform once again.

I really enjoyed the fact that Hoffman doesn't mess with the usual stories in telling a tale about retirement homes. There was no talk of the tenants being sad about family members not visiting or even family visiting for that fact. Everything is about the music here and is on a light note, which I loved. As for the performances, Smith and Courtenay are phenomenal. They both prove they still have what it takes to captivate an entire audience and their emotions when they first see each other for the first time in many years, you can literally see the heartache in their eyes and mannerisms. It was amazing. Connolly is my favorite character, as he is the most light hearted and funniest characters in the film. he takes everything in stride and just steals the show. Hoffman's direction is mostly by-the-books, but captures each performance with grace. And stay for the end credit sequence as it shows the actors paired with an old photo of themselves in their youthful prime. I can't wait to see this again.


What a brilliant idea Dustin Hoffman had to make a movie about old people. This can sound like a very boring and dull idea at first, but watching Quartet will prove you that there isn't actually more lively environment than a retirement house. The plot is really good and creative (I mean, a retirement house specially for old opera singers? who would've thought of that?), and Dustin Hoffman entirely deserves the award he got for Breakthrough Directing. The choice of actors was incredibly good. Dame Maggie Smith (Jean Horton) is really one of those actresses that'd be the right choice to play anything. I wouldn't even be bothered if she had to play Batman, and I'm convinced she'd be the right choice. Paulie Collins (Cissy Robinson) is absolutely adorable in her slightly-going-nuts rendition of an old opera performer. She's adorable and will her innocence will probably make you go "awww" a couple of times. And the idea of using actual retired opera performers as extras? Jesus that deserves all the credit in the world (plus you get to see what they looked like while performing in their career, another good reason to stick to the end). But actors aren't just what makes this movie awesome. Some shots are just magnificent. The way some scenes are filmed is mesmerizing. The setting is beautiful, typically British, and it will dazzle your eyes. Overall, Quartet is one of those movies that doesn't even remotely look interesting at first sight, but truly, once watched, your opinion won't be the same.


"Quartet" is a beautiful film directed by Dustin Hoffman, about a retirement home for musicians as the residents prepare for a benefit concert to keep the place going.

The film stars Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Billy Connelly, and Pauline Collins, as well as opera performers, including Gwenyth Jones, Nuala Willis, John Rawnsley, Melodie Waddingham, Cynthia Morey, Justin Lavender, Vivienne Ross, and Patricia Varley.

The arrival of diva Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), once married to Reginald (Courtenay) is a reason for Reginald to completely panic. Not that Jean is in great shape either. As she's traveling to the home, she's rehearsing what she'll say to him: "We were different people then." Problems worsen when the well-meaning Cissy (Pauline Collins) who has moments of dementia, suggests that she, Cissy, Reginald, and Wif (Billy Connolly) perform the Quartet from Rigoletto at the benefit, something they performed many times. The mere suggestion causes Jean to become violent.

This is a great film about aging, about lost love, losing one's gifts, reconciliation, and coming to terms with life as it is now. The "quartet" of actors, along with Michael Gambon, are fantastic, as is the glorious soundtrack.

Opera lovers and those who appreciate great acting will love this film. Director Hoffman keeps the story from being mawkish or sentimental, mining the humor and the real emotion of the film. Beautifully done.


It's rare these days, in my opinion, to get a combination on superb acting, impeccable writing, and sensitive direction, all adding up to a superlative movie. However, that's what I found here.

Dustin Hoffman, the great actor, makes ostensibly his directorial debut here and is hugely successful. The veteran writer, Ronald Harwood, adds the wonderful screenplay, based on his own play.

The lead actors namely, Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins are all at the top of their game here. They're all retired famous opera singers, forced by circumstances, to now make the Beecham House, or Home for Retired Musicians, their new home. They once sang together, as a Quartet, namely in Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece "Rigoletto", many years before.

The retirement home is now facing severe financial woes and if their upcoming annual gala is not a success, they could be forced to close. Can the Quartet overcome their interpersonal resentments of the past and their problems with aging to help the gala be a lifesaver?

I might mention that Michaqel Gambon, in a supporting role, as the Director of the upcoming gala adds very well to the mix, as does Sheridan Smith as the residence doctor and manager.

I, not being an opera or classical music buff, had no idea that many of the residents of the home, who performed at the gala, were actually famous singers and musicians of the past. I thought the singing and classical music that interwove with the movie was exceptional.

In summary, I found the film to be quite exceptional and memorable.


This was the two time Oscar winning actor Dustin Hoffman's debut as director and he played it safe, if that's what he was going for, by picking a successful play by fame writer Ronald Harwood who also wrote the screen adaptation. Hoffman, who is well known for his meticulous and focused approach to acting, no doubt approached this new project with the same diligence, and who better to have in one's cast than well established and consummate professionals like the key players, if you're aiming for outstanding results. Well, he succeeded; there is little we can fault 'Quartet' with except one detail which I'll mention a little further down. So bravo director Hoffman.

I thoroughly enjoy British comedies, whether they be the outrageous kind or the light variety; this one is of the light variety and thus we get to watch some solid acting in the scenes that are more for character development than for humour. Leading the pack are Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon; that's what I meant by established and consummate professionals. The supporting cast was also up to the task.

The storyline is straightforward; we are introduced to four of the five key players at the beginning of the film as they are rehearsing for an annual gala at the retirement home for musicians called Beechum House, but that also includes singers and of course fame director Cedric Livingston, played by Michael Gambon. Livingston is a pompous and egotistical character with a slight short term memory handicap, so the rest of the residents are not at all intimidated by Cedric, starting with singer Wilf Bond, played by Billy Connolly, who only refers to Livingston as Sid, something that tends, only momentarily of course, to get under the director's skin. Connolly's character gets away with flirting, he does mention he thinks of sex every seven seconds, as if that was another art he enjoys, like nobody's business. Cissy and Reginald, played respectively by Pauline Collins and Tom Courtenay are two other members of a quartet that was supposed to perform at the gala until the fourth member became unavailable. That vacant spot becomes the central focus of the group when a new arrival at the home shows up. By the way, home is such an understatement for the wonderful domain that is Beechum, an ideal setting where I could only hope to end up myself; a stately manor with sprawling greens and wooded trails, nestled in the English countryside. That new arrival is diva Jean Horton, played by Maggie Smith; she and Reggie were once married. The plot thickened just right. The four singers once sang as a quartet, a performance unsurpassed by any other since; however, Jean was never to perform again in her retirement. The plot thickened some more.

Maggie Smith's presence could not stop me from realizing there is a movie genre in that a bunch of talented and aged professionals actors, the Brits in particular, when grouped for a movie project are what one would call grey cinema; she did such good work in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, I looked forward to seeing Quartet even more.

Now about the detail that brings the only blemish to this whole thing, as I wrote earlier, is that the annual gala, this one in particular is suppose to be a make or break fundraiser; without its financial success, Beechum faces closure. There is nothing throughout the movie that even hints at why they are facing such a predicament, and if that wasn't enough, the audience we see at the gala in the end could hardly explain how the home could possibly be saved or have expected it, by such a diminutive venue. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie enough and those who like light comedy should as well.


"Quartet" is a good British comedy with a cast of some of the great British actors of the last half of the 20th century. The film is based on a play and was the first credited directing job for Dustin Hoffman. The story has wonderful potential, but somehow the movie seems to miss the second gear that would give it some oomph.

Among the cast are some wonderful British actors that movie buffs have enjoyed for decades. They've played in comedy, drama, mysteries and romantic histories and biographies. Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon and Andrew Sachs head the cast.

The plot isn't original – a retirement home for actors, artists and musicians. The ensemble comes together to stage a production when one of the last reigning stars from a big hit joins the community. Smith's Jean Horton comments, when she sees how the people get along, "It's not a retirement home. It's a mad house."

It's an enjoyable film, mostly for those who appreciate some of the performers and films of the past. The language is a little crass and off color at times. Modern audiences may not find it slow and not very funny.


Dustin Hoffman's directorial duties was uncredited for 1978s Straight Time. Therefore Quartet is his proper directing debut and given his reputation as the infant terrible of the method acting school in the 1970s and 80s, Quartet is an unlikely story for Hoffman to direct.

Hoffman has gathered Maggie Smith, Tom Courtney, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins as patients in a retirement home putting on a show in this case an operatic and musical one to raise funds for the home for retired performers.

It is a genteel, slight film and a kind of thing you feel you have seen it all before. The acting is fine not only from the main stars but also many of the supporting and smaller roles all veteran performers of stage and screen.

Smith plays a retired star who is adjusting to life in the home, she is a new arrival and she has history with Courtney's character as they were once married. The trouble is we saw Smith play a new arrival in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as well although she was less posh in and more embittered in that one.

Connolly plays his part with relish as the randy retiree, Collins character is suffering from dementia as she has frequent lapses. Its enjoyable but very unrealistic. They all seem to be too energetic to live in a retirement home as well as the home being very luxurious. I have stayed at 5 star hotels that is less luxurious than this retirement home.


This film was the ideal one to relax & watch on the evening of Christmas Day. Loved everything about it - the setting, the music, the characterisation, and the music. I particularly liked picking out the actors I had seen in other roles ( such as Manuel from Fawlty Towers and Jim from The Vicar of Dibley). His Underneath the Arches was one of my favourite acts. For me though, in spite of opposition from Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins was the stand out, with her generosity, and her lapses of memory, and the way all the characters rallied around her. Good to see older people featuring in a film.

A great British Movie
White gold

White gold

First of all, I wish this is more popular in my country. This movie has a lot to share in its story and characters. While watching, you'll get flashbacks and flashforwards (if this word even exists) about your own life. It'll give you very many new perspectives about life, about the past, the present, and the future. Of course, without making you feel desperate and stressed.

It's packed really well in the plots, the characters brought the atmosphere to such a heavy and tense but breathable gravity. It talks about facing getting old, expiration of gifts, forgiveness, love, memories, in beautiful ways.

The only thing that makes me let two stars lost from the rating is it's too short, I really want it to be more. I want to see more about the characters in the movie. They are enchanting, their stories are wondrous, their interactions are spellbinding.

Great salute for everyone who made this movie happen.


Only the BBC and Great Britain could produce such a film on retired musical artists, mostly musicians and opera singers. They are not guaranteed a long, slow and inactive aging period leading to their eventual dismissal but they are expected to go on practicing their arts, singing and playing, together if possible? and performing a few times a year to remain active and hence not simply survive but still create, produce, and enrich their collective lot, not out of pity or from charity from the public but because they provide that public with all kinds of real services, classes, lectures, concerts, etc.

This film is exceptional since the average age of the actors is 178 or is it 198 years, so says one of them, but they are escaping depression and self-abandonment because they perform together for themselves and for a public that they invite, that come to learn from them. That film is a beautiful gospel of hope for the aging population in our countries. They must not be dependent, even and especially on the state, but they must keep the control of their life and their economic resources. A man can only be a man if he produces added value and that does not stop when you retire. Retiring is a humane solution for those who don't have their physical and mental health or enough of these physical and mental means to still be able to create, to teach, to bring something to other people, younger people or not so young people. In international humanitarian NGOs one can volunteer up to the age of NINETY-NINE years.

So this film, produced and directed by the aging Dustin Hoffman (he is seventy-five years old, since he was a child of the New Deal), is the proof that life and the show must go on, no matter what. The film is full of empathy, humor, living power and force, constant and permanent energy: what am I going to do today? Of course I am going to play some music, do some singing, read a book, but also meet the others here and do these things with them, with passion, with emotion, with sympathy and at times compassion. I will share my emotions and passions with the others who will share their passions and emotions with me. I may take a walk and sit in the garden, go down town and enjoy looking at the cars going by, the children getting out of school, the salespeople in the stores where I will buy a trinket or a ballpoint pen just to be able to speak to the salesperson there. I may flirt or simply be nice and friendly with the unknown people I meet at the bus stop or in the streetcar, on the train, or anywhere indeed. Most of them will either shrug me off silently or just answer nicely: I have the age that brings respect and even help if I need some, and a few words often are all the help I need.

People around me are just like elephants in the jungle. If I don't block the way, they may go by without noticing me, or smile at me for no reason whatsoever except that I am old enough to be smiled at, or even provided with a few words and a hand to hold a door, to help me up or down some stairs.

This film is just showing this macrocosmic reality of aging in a society that does not seem to age at all, along with the microcosmic reality of everyday tensions, emotions, feelings, happiness or satisfaction. And the film shows how you must not overdo it. That's when you really get senile: you don't see others at all and you escape into an invisible reality that is only material in your mind, or you invade the people around you with your own sentiments, feelings and obsessions without seeing that it is not an exchange but a drone from your mind onto the people around you.

And when that balance is kept, between these two extremes, you can have some very pleasant moments of real sharing that will enlighten your life, and their life, till the end of the trip. Yes indeed the objective is to get married again with the people of your generation, and also with people from younger generations, and marriage is sharing and doing together. That's what marriage for all means for me.

A very sensitive and endearing film about an essential stake of the present and the coming decades.



I found this pleasantly surprising. It was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I found the first 5 minutes a bit boring and I thought I had made a grave mistake. But luckily it got better and better. I found Billy Connolly very funny in this film. His character is brilliant and I laughed so much at him.

Overall the film is defiantly one to watch, a very charming film and a brilliant cast. Set in rural Britain and based on retired opera singers. Now I am not a fan of Opera but this was done really well done and was a very interesting film and a brilliant concept. I think the whole family would enjoy this one!