Dustin Hoffman's QUARTET
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
This harmless piece of sentimental fluff effectively avoids the harshest realities of old age. I enjoyed it anyway. Sure it’s a fantasy; the nursing home these retired musicians live in looks like a Downton Abbey country estate where residents’ days are spent not in boredom or isolation but in musical gatherings where art and prior triumphs are constantly celebrated.
The dramatic tension is pretty straightforward in Beecham House when a retired diva comes to live. She finds that relationships with a former husband and two other past Opera cast members who are also residents still have ramifications not all of which are positive. The group wants the old “quartet” to perform again at an important fundraising event but the old tensions resurface.
Will the diva and her former husband be reconciled? Will the other female member of the quartet recover from a medical crisis in time to perform? What outrageous sexual innuendo will the diva’s former husband’s best friend speak out loud to an amused group? Will a resident song and dance duo be allowed to perform their silly song amongst the “high art” that others are rehearsing?
It sounds like a soap opera but what makes this all so appealing is Hoffman’s direction, the excellent script, the stellar performances of all involved, the gorgeous photography, and the beautiful country estate setting.
It’s a feel-good movie beautifully produced with a heart and a conscience.
Review copyright (c) 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald