Director: Dustin Hoffman
Writer: Ronald Harwood
Based on: Ronald Harwood’s play
Cast: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Andrew Sachs
At a home for retired musicians, the inhabitants are preparing for their yearly concert with which they also wish to raise some funds to keep the home opened. But things get disrupted when Jean (Maggie Smith) arrives at the home. Not only does Jean still stick to her diva ways, though she refuses to sing, she used to be married to Reggie (Tom Courtenay) who also lives in the home. Things between Reggie and Jean are unresolved, to put it mildly. But with the help of their friends Cissy (Pauline Collins) and Wilf (Billy Connolly), plus a planned quartet performance by the four of them, they start to put the past to rest.
Quartet was okay, but it certainly wasn’t great. Though it’s actually short, it dragged on. Plus, it remained annoyingly shallow and I just took an immediate dislike to Billy Connolly’s character.
Quartet could have been really nice. But it just falls flat on several counts. The first being Wilf who is the stereotypical horny old guy. I mean, he keeps his hand to himself, but if that’s the most positive thing you can say about a guy, it’s not very good. And this cliché just really has to die. It’s insulting to old men and it makes light of sexual harrassment. Yay.
And since the movie basically starts with Wilf, we really got off on the wrong foot. And it didn’t get any better afterwards either.
Another major problem I had was that neither the script nor the direction managed to build up any kind of tension. The movie flows along, never hits any lows or highs. And I just didn’t connect with it or with its characters most of the time.
The only exception to this was the relationship between Jean and Cissy. I thought that was interesting and I would have loved to get more of it. Also because Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins did a really great job with it. But in the end, it just wasn’t enough.
Summarising: Dustin Hoffman should probably stick to acting.