One of the most celebrated actors in world cinema, two-time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man, Kramer vs. Kramer) steps behind the camera for the first time with this charming adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s eponymous play, which screened as a Special Presentation at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival®. Quartet tells the story of retired opera singers and lifelong chums Wilf (Billy Connolly, Fido) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay, Nicholas Nickleby), who, together with their former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins, Albert Nobbs, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), reside in Beecham House, a retirement home for aged musicians. Each year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents arrange a concert to raise funds for their home. It is usually a smooth-running, perfectly pleasant event, evoking warm memories of old times and grand traditions. Enter stage right Jean (Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Ladies in Lavender), Reggie’s ex and the fourth, most famous member of the former quartet. Having recently fallen on hard times, the aged diva checks into Beecham, and it’s not long before long-buried grievances rise to the surface, rivalries resume, and plans begin to fall apart. Reconciliation is not on the program, but the show must go on—right? Under Hoffman’s affectionate and attentive gaze, these marvellous veteran actors shine. Connolly is as wise-cracking and boisterous as ever, while Smith is divine as a charismatic old tigress who can make one wither with the slightest glance. Yet beneath all the playful banter there is a quiet fire, an urge to feel alive again, to use art as a way of raging against the dying of the light. This is a sweet, delightful and moving film — and an auspicious debut.
"Dustin Hoffman’s directing bow at 75 finds a perfect match in the well-heeled subject of Quartet, a charming tale of aging musicians whose passion for life continues undiminished in a stately English manor filled with humor, caring and of course great music." —Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
Director: Dustin Hoffman
Cast:: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly
Distributor: Alliance Films
Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR
* Represents an approximate date. Please consult local listings.