If you’re a fan of British comedy-dramas about quirky senior citizens and didn’t get your fill with “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” then “Quartet” should hit all the right notes for you.
The story takes place at a retirement home that primarily services opera singers and classical musicians. Three of the residents — Reg (Tom Courtenay), Cissy (Pauline Collins) and Wilf (Billy Connolly) — have settled in comfortably until the arrival of Reg’s ex-wife Jean (Maggie Smith). Jean is a diva of the first order and Reg is emphatically unhappy that she’s moved in.
Every year the residents put on a show in honor of Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday. The show is a major fundraiser for the retirement home and the show’s director (Michael Gambon) is convinced the only thing that will save it is if Reg, Jean, Cissy and Wilf perform together.
It would be easier to get The Beatles back together.
Based on the play by Ronald Harwood, “Quartet” marks Dustin Hoffman’s debut as a director. He’s put together a heartfelt, charming tale that’s as comfortable as an old shoe and just as predictable.
The lead actors fill their assigned roles with class and ease. Gambon is especially entertaining as the put-upon director, as is Connolly in the role of comic relief. The scenery is lovely and the music is delightful. It’s a pleasant if not splashy production.