Quartet--Directed by Dustin Hoffman/starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly/Pauline Collins/screenplay Ronald Harwood from his own play/rated PG-13/1hr 39 min
Bifocal Review by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(B) I loved this movie. Hoffman’s directing was superb, but Billy Connolly stole the show. Every time he was in a scene I knew I was going to laugh. However, all the performances were great, even the staff at the retirement home. For me, the source of entertainment was less about opera and more about seniors aging in the most luxurious of accommodations that was appealing. If I have to go to a retirement home, this is where I want to go. The grounds were spectacular. It reminded me of Downton Abbey. Front and center are the relationships of these retired musicians. My fear, as I watched this film, was that it would depress me, like the film Amour, but instead, it inspired me to live life to the fullest. It did have some poignant moments, which were just enough to make it real. The delicate combination of laughing at ourselves as we age and the pure sensitivity shown toward one another was magical. Please see this film. Seniors? Don’t miss it. The three and a half binoculars I give this film are earned on many levels.
(OG) You either love opera or you hate it. I happen to love it. Is that a requirement for liking this movie? Not really. There are a few great numbers ( or pieces of larger songs) embedded within this film, but it is really about love and glory, both lost and regained, and the poetic maxim: It is better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all. In this case, it is even better to regain a glimpse of past glory and/or love even if we most (including ourselves) believe that we are too old to really enjoy it. The poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam is where these lines are found:
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Regardless how you feel about opera, I think it is better to have seen this movie and enjoyed it, than to miss it altogether. Even if you must see it On Demand, see it. I give this film a hearty 3½ binoculars.