Can’t help it – the number of times I have sat through a film dabbing away the tears are too many to mention. (It’s strange but I never notice anyone else quite as emotionally involved as I tend to be.) And this movie was no exception. We went to see “Quartet”, a wonderful film about growing old, facing one’s fears, forgiveness, and having fun.
Lifelong friends Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtney), together with former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins), are residents of Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Every year on Giuseppe Verdi's birthday, the residents unite to give a concert to raise funds for their home. But when Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), a former grande dame of the opera fallen on hard times, also Reggie's ex-wife, moves into the home to everyone's surprise, the plans for this year's concert start to unravel. As old grudges threaten to undermine past glories and theatrical temperaments play havoc with the rehearsal schedule, it becomes apparent that having four of the finest singers in English operatic history under one roof offers no guarantee that the show will go on.
As Bette Davis is attributed to have said, “Old age is not for sissies!”. Billy Connolly plays the part of a man who has suffered a mild stroke, and cannot help making inappropriate comments, and Pauline Collin’s character is in the first stages of Alzheimer's. Maggie Smith’s Jean is in pain as she awaits a hip replacement courtesy of the NHS, while the last remaining member of the quartet has never forgiven his former wife for her indiscretions.
Sometimes sad and painful to watch, sometimes funny, but beautifully done and accompanied with lovely soaring music throughout, it is a must-see for those of us past “a certain age”. Highly recommended.