Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quartet with Maggie Smith directed by Dustin Hoffman

Quartet- just go and see it. If you are reading my blog, you will love this film. This film will not win any Academy Awards, nor should it. It will however have you leaving the theatre with a spring in your step and humming operatic tunes. By the way, you need to know nothing about opera or classical music to watch this.

"Getting old is not for sissies." Bette Davis

Maggie Smith stars as Jean Horton, an aging opera diva waiting for a new hip (again! same premise as Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) who has run out of money to pay for her incredibly gorgeous London flat and so has to move to Beecham House, opulent retirement home for aged musicians.

She arrives to a standing ovation, to find that her ex-husband, a few old friends and one rival diva rank amongst the inhabitants of  the home.

Tom Courtenay is Reginald Paget, Jean's ex and is particularly wonderful and moving I thought. Billy Connolly is randy old Wilf Bond, there for comic effect (brilliant move Dustin) and Pauline Collins is perfect as the adorable but slightly demented Cissy Robson.

Don't believe some of the cynical reviews out there. This one is a keeper and will be purchased by me to pull out regularly when I need a little lift. It is not a realistic film (if you have spent any time around a real retirement/nursing home you will know what I mean) but it is not meant to be. It is meant to be an uplifting, inspirational film about how to age gracefully, supported by good friends and continuing to pursue your passions. Kind of like hanging around with the coolest grandparents in England!

Don't confuse this film with A Late Quartet, also a very good film but about a string quartet, not an operatic quartet. The filmmakers used real musicians for all of the residents in the supporting cast, and Hoffman deftly gets around the fact that the titular Quartet are actors not singers. Here is a little taste to whet your appetite.


  1. I plan to watch and love this film. Thanks for the review. The trailer I saw reminded me a lot of Marigold Hotel, which I enjoyed, so that's not a bad thing. Nice to see good films with roles for older actors. Not everything has to start a twenty-something to be touching, romantic, and hopeful!

    1. Hi Jane. Yes, if you liked Marigold Hotel you will find this one just as wonderful. I really have to have this one on DVD. I hope they give lots of extras. The country house they used was just gorgeous and I'd love some stories of behind the scenes with Dustin Hoffman and gang.




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