Jan. 17, 2013 - Issue #900: The ongoing musical evolution of Hannah Georgas
Beecham House, as the residence is known, is filled with a colourful cast of characters, each with their own musical gifts—and played by renowned virtuosos in their own right—who prepare a gala concert each year in honour of Giuseppe Verdi's birthday. However, this year has a new twist, as Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), the fourth member of the quartet—not to mention Reg's ex-wife—arrives, bringing back old rivalries and heartache as the other three attempt to convince her to reunite with them to take the stage, despite her reservations.
What follows is a comedic and heartwarming journey into the past and present, as old conflicts and wounds are unearthed between Jean and Reg, who are a lovable duo to root for as Jean tries to make amends for what she says was the biggest mistake of her life.
It's the characters, rather than the story itself, that makes Quartet an enjoyable film to watch. Hoffman's directorial debut is a rose-tinted projection of late life, with only a few moments of its struggles, such as Cecily struggling with progressing senility and a few scattered conversations about the trials of progressing into old age—which, as Cecily repeats several times, is not for "sissies."
Other than that, the high-end retirement facility and its inhabitants aim to entertain, with impromptu musical numbers and lively, charismatic personalities. Suspense isn't the aim of the game, and it's evident from the start where the story's headed, but that aside, it's a touching story flecked with a great deal of enjoyable humour, particularly from Connolly's Wilfred. The old Scotsman is a hormonal high-school boy trapped in a senior citizen's body, winking and flirting relentlessly with Beecham House's female staff and doctor, making remarks about "seasoned wood" and the like.
The panache of the core four members of the cast captures a sense of camaraderie and fond reminiscence of days gone by while trying to grasp the future. Complimenting the integral story are supporting roles, such as Michael Gambon as the cantankerous and egotistical Cedric Livingstone, which bring impressive musical flair to the story, even moreso when the credits roll and it is revealed who the musicians are behind the characters.
Opens Opens Friday
Directed by: Dusitn Hoffman
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