Posted on February 10, 2013


Quartet – Set in beautiful surroundings in England, the Beecham House is a group home for retired musicians, mainly opera singers.  In order to keep the home going, the residents have a benefit each year on Verdi’s birthday.  Three members (Reggie, Wilf, and Cissy) of a famous quartet are living there and planning this year’s event.  To their surprise, the fourth member, Jean (Maggie Smith), arrives – she’s the diva of the group, “never receiving fewer than 12 encores per performance.”  She’s also the ex-wife of Reggie, who hasn’t got over her and hasn’t forgiven her either.  Jean is grumpy, afraid her voice is no longer able to reach the high notes, and wants to make up to Reggie for having cheated on him.

Billy Connolly is the randy old man with prostate problems.  Michael Gambon is the “Emperor.”  My favorite was Pauline Collins as Cissy with major mental lapses.  There are a number of real life opera singers in the cast and it’s Dustin Hoffman’s first shot at directing.

 Why is it we always think the English are so much more civilized than we are?  Or is that just me?  I do wish I could understand them a bit better.  My ear just doesn’t hear British-speak.  Maybe they should use  subtitles. The house is beautiful, notice the paintings and framed posters on the wall, the scenery is beautiful, and the music is beautiful.  That along with a few laughs is enough for a very pleasant movie.