Quartet review (DVD)

Hoffman's first-time gig as a director comes pretty late in his career, at an age when most people are contemplating their retirement. So it's fitting that it's a film set in a retiremtn home, albeiot a very fancy retirement home for musicians, set in a beautiful British country estate.

Quartet is a comic drama about retired opera singers. Wilf (Connolly), Reginald (Courtenay) and Cissy (Collins) are getting ready for the home's annual Verdi Gala when things are complicated by the arrival of the fourth former member of their quartet, Jean (Smith), a diva who is also Reginald's ex-wife (they were married once for a matter of hours). Can the group put their former feelings aside to reform for a one-off show to raise maoney to keep the home open?

Based on Harwood's own play, Quartet is a warm and quietly comic film featuring some of Britain's best acting talent. It's really all about Smith and Courtenay, but Connolly comes close to stealing the show with his wonderful turn as a cheeky old sod who refuses to act his age. Gambon is also terrific, flouncing around in what appears to be his costumes from the Harry Potter films. Assured direction from Hoffman makes this an enjoyable little number.

EXTRAS ★★★ There's an audio commentary with Hoffman; 10 deleted scenes (6:13); a gag reel (11:00); five behind-the-scenes featurettes (17:05); interviews with Hoffman and members of the cast and crew (49:27); the theatrical trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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