Quartet (Movie 2012)

2 Kernels

 Lacking Substance
 Movie 2012 (Directed by Dustin Hoffman)
Staring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins


Fantastic line-up of stars, especially Maggie Smith. I couldn’t wait to see her in action. Perhaps my expectations were too high going into another British movie, but unfortunately it didn’t move me as much as I had hoped. In fact, I fast-forwarded the ending just to get through it.  I so hate giving a two-star review to great artists.  But just because they are, it doesn’t make the work itself a great picture.

It’s a story about a retirement home where aging musicians go to live out the remainder of their lives.  Many of them know each other from the early days when they were at the highlight of their careers.  They have now congregated in one place to continue dabbling in the art of music while they wait for the undertaker to take them away in a body bag.

Maggie Smith plays Jean Horton, a once famous and highly sought after opera singer who is now old, broke, and alone.  (Of course they say she’s broke, but I’m not sure how she affords the swanky retirement home.)  Like most elderly, her baggage upon arrival is filled with bitterness over life. To make matters worse, she discovers that her ex-husband is living out his days at the retirement home as well.  He’s not much better when it comes to forgiveness for Jean’s early days of adultery, so most of the movie he has a chip on his shoulder along with the air of being a former star himself.

The storyline is weak, superficial, and frankly uninteresting.  I will say this, that it would be a great place to retire! The movie is set in an converted English manor, with gorgeous countryside, comfortable and beautiful interior, kind staff, and an eclectic mix of eccentric elderly. You can sing your days away, rumba to music, croquet to your heart’s content, and walk the grounds with a dirty old man, if you’d like. However, the story, at least for me, started with a great premise, but moved at a snail’s pace.

If the movie accomplishes anything, it does give a poignant view of aging and how one’s youth and glory fades. We all know it’s coming; perhaps we just don’t wish to acknowledge it.

Excuse me, while I search the Internet to find a retirement home in the UK that fits the description for retired authors.  I would love to pack my bags and take my own bitterness over life to a swanky retirement home in the English countryside to live out my days. I can pen murder mysteries until they haul me away in a body bag. Works for me.

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