A movie for music lovers

Quartet Alliance/BBC Films Rating: PG 95 minutes

The reviews of Quartet are mostly postive and they should be. Directed by Dustin Hoffman and written by Ron Harwood from his play of the same name, it’s a delightful film about retired English musicians.

The story centers on four retired opera singers played by Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay and Billy Connelly (as a horny Scotsman who gets most of the good lines). Three of them want to perform a Verdi quartet from Rigoletto that they were famous for in their prime at a fundraiser for their retirement home.

However Smith, who was briefly married to the Courtenay character, refuses to sing anymore and most of the story is about trying to get her to perform.

There is also a marvellous supporting cast, presumably mostly real retired musicans, who sing or play music continuously. It’s a joy to see and hear the music and also to see the character and life experience in these faces, including those of the leads, although Connelly seems younger than the rest.

The movie is also lovingly put together, but may not appeal to younger audiences who might dismiss it as a story about retired old fart musicians. But there is a lot of appreciation of life here, as well as enjoyable performances from old veterans and pros.

The ending is unsatisfactory and the film itself is sometimes lighter than air, but this is a movie that music lovers, especially anyone who performs musically, will love.

Rating: five deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.