Well, it’s movie review time again for us. Today we finally had the chance to see the wonderful film, ‘Quartet’, with a fabulous cast of mature British actors and a beautifully told story as well as a glorious English countryside setting. As mature folks ourselves, it is always special when we encounter stories that reveal the fact that mature folks are just like everyone else (only, speaking just for ourselves, a bit stiff and weary now and then). Mature folk are dealing with the same issues of relationships, communication, and figuring out how to go on with life that those younger ones do, and this film, based on a stage play by the same name, tells that with a bit of drama and quite a lot of humor and compassion.
The quartet in the title are four former opera singers who had performed together outstandingly many years before, had been estranged from one of the members for decades, and are finding themselves now dealing with age and many other challenges. They are portrayed by Maggie Smith as Jean, Tom Courtenay as Reggie, Billy Connolly as Wilf, and Pauline Collins as Cissy and Michael Gambon does a star turn as the ‘director’ of the annual Verdi Gala. Believe it or not, even with this cast Pauline Collins almost steals the film as a sweet soul quickly losing her grip on reality and doing that with grace and cheerfulness.
The story is about not just four, but also many more retired musicians, who still have the talents they had in decades gone by and still enjoy making music, although time has taken its usual toll. The screenplay was written by the original playwright, and that no doubt explains the lovely dialogue and wonderful characters. Another thing we appreciated about the film was that while it was honest in its depictions of the physical and mental dilemmas of the mature, it never made them seem stupid or foolish. They were simply talented people who had spent their lives making music and wanted to continue to do so, well aware they were no longer in their prime and accepting that fact with all the grace they could muster. It was lovely.