Quartet proves to be a wonderful directional debut for seasoned but sensational actor Dustin Hoffman. The story takes place at Beecham House, a retirement home for musicians.
The residents, which include three of four members of an operatic quartet: Wilf (Billy Connolly), Cissy (Pauline Collins) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay), are in the midst of preparing for a Gala that will help keep the retirement house running for another year. It is at this time the legendary Opera singer and fourth member of the quartet, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith) arrives and causes quite a stir.
Past romances and rivalries come to light and old friendships are renewed as the assortment of veteran entertainers show they are far from has-beens. Maggie Smith gives another grand performance, providing the usual air of grace she gives to every role – but it is really Pauline Collins that steals the show. Through the quirky character of Cissy, Collins portrays how challenging growing old can be, especially when having the spirit of a nineteen year old.
The film is both charming and meaningful, discussing the emotional, mental and physical struggles that come with growing old. It shows just how much older generations have contributed to society as many of the actors in the film are real life singers, musicians and performers who most definitely still have a lot to offer.
Quartet will inevitably leave you wanting to make the most of your younger years but also reminds you that even as you get older, it is never really over, not even when the fat lady sings.