Films about quirky old folks are done best by the British. “Quartet” concerns a group of retired musicians, all boarded at the Beachwood House, and the performance of their annual music gala. The film also marks the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman. Ole Dusty is certainly a shrewd one; knowing the British penchant for this genre of film, he teamed with BBC Films, assembled an amazing ensemble cast comprised of veteran British actors and retired musicians, and helmed one of the more delightful films of the year.
Starring in “Quartet” are Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Cortenay, Michael Gambon, Pauline Collins and Sheridan Smith. They are all exceptional, with an extra nod to Connolly. His character, Wilf, is an unabashed geriatric sexual dynamo, whose bark is much more than his bite as he bares an all too striking resemblance of the rowdy grandfather we all know and love.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
- THE BREAKFAST SCENE
- ACTUAL PICTURES DURING THE END CREDITS
Hoffman is most noble in his initial outing behind the camera. He utilizes his actors well, allows Cinematographer John de Borman the latitude to incorporate cant camera angles and off center blocking and keeps Editor Barney Pilling true by telling his story within a reasonable and comfortable 90 minute time frame.
Of course the comedy in “Quartet” is more apropos to the drollness of life; this film does not contain the bathroom humor of the mindless net generation who venerate false comedic idols. The smirks come more frequently the closer one is to retirement and even more frequently if musical stage performances were once the order of the day.
I watched “Quartet” while having my morning coffee, complimented with a toasted bagel and cream cheese. It was a perfect way to start the day.
QUARTET EARNS A B+ GRADE.
Fiore Mastracci last spoke with Dustin Hoffman at the Avia Hotel in Savannah; though at the time, neither knew who the other was. Outtakes on Facebook is now a closed group. You can request member ship at: www.facebook.com/groups/238251852973784