Steen: Do yourself a favour–see Quartet

This mainly British cast has given us a delightfully charming film in Quartet.


In Quartet, this mainly British cast has given us a delightfully charming film that’s sure to win the hearts of those at any age.

In his first directorial debut (hard to believe), Dustin Hoffman brings out the best characterization in this story of musician retirees living their lives out in the Beecham Retirement Home.

The house itself is under some serious financial pressure, and may have to close, leaving these talented older folks out of a home. Fortunately, a concert is planned to celebrate Verdi’s birthday and it is just the opportunity to save the house and to bring a long ago quartet back together—although some are not so keen on the idea.

This cast is so very good that it’s hard to come up with enough superlatives to describe the performances.

Maggie Smith, who is always so perfect in any role, plays Jean Horton, an aging diva who doesn’t want to be in the home, let alone be part of the quartet, and in fact is even less thrilled to find out that her ex-husband lives at the Beecham as well—not good news.

Billy Connolly, as Wilf Bond, is having the time of his life playing this role you can just tell, as you can with Michael Gambon as Cedric.

The 72-year-old Pauline Collins as Cissy is a charming ditz with a good heart and Trevor Peacock as George brings back shades of the Vicar of Dibley (my all-time favourite sit com).

Among the funny lines is Maggie Smith as Jean lamenting that: “This is no retirement home, it’s a madhouse.”

Maggie Smith actually starred in a 1981 film entitled Quartet, but the plot and film were not even close to this one.

Most of the supporting cast were actually retired musicians and the principal actors were trained to sing.

All in all, this was just so fun, with lots of naughty bits, so do go and see Quartet, you won’t be disappointed.

I give it 5 reels.

My Oscar pick this week is for the Best Director and that would be Steven Spielberg for Lincoln.

(I know, but I really loved the film). Next week, predictions for Best Actor and Best Actress.


Did you know the Academy Awards began on May 16, 1929, with 270 people paying $5 each to attend and it was only heard on the radio by those not there. The Awards then moved to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and in 1953 they were televised for the first time.

Since 2002, the Oscars have been held at Hollywood Kodak Theatre, which was just last year, renamed The Dolby Theatre (maybe because the sound is better there? Oh sorry, but I just had to say that). This year is the 85th Oscar ceremony and will be seen in over 200 countries around the world.


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