Saturday, 9 February 2013

236, Quartet

So - after completely falling in love with pensioners in the cinema, mainly thanks to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel I headed off to see Quartet with a spring in my step, hoping that Dame Maggie and her riotous crew of legendary oldies would once again inspire me to future greatness.  Sadly though - this was not entirely to be.

Don't get me wrong - this is a lovely movie and for a certain audience (mainly those that are retired) a fantastic outing can be had however for the rest of us (namely those under 40) it just lacks the appeal of other recent hits that have taken some of our best loved British Talent and made it big on the silver screen.

If it wasn't for my love of Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly I may have actually considered getting up and leaving early - something I've NEVER done in a cinema before (apart from when Mrs M had contractions during the Matrix!).  The movie charts the residents of a retirement home for the musically talented - namely opera stars and musicians.  New resident Jean Horton (Maggie Smith) is the much loved Operatic star who's appearance within the home sets tongues a wagging as her arrival completes the Quartet - four Opera stars from days gone by, famous for their rendition of Verdi's Rigoletto. 

With the annual concert beckoning it doesn't take long for the other three members (Connolly, Courtenay & Collins) to try and talk Dame Maggie into performing their piece one more time - much to her instant dismissal.

And that's about it in a nutshell - there are a number of sub plots running alongside including Gambon's ever so eccentric portrayal as an aged musical director as well as Pauline Collins sad case of Alzheimer's and with  Dame Maggie & Tom Courtenay having once been married finally getting to know each other again, much to his regret you have all bases covered.

All of this is held together by Billy Connolly's slightly over bearing and randy performance as the joker in the home but even for him - this seemed a step too far. 

What Dustin Hoffman has tried to do (as the Director to this ensemble) is bring together a movie he is deeply passionate about and for him - its probably perfect but for me, it missed a number of chords.  Individually - each of the leading cast members have excelled in recent years - Gambon and Smith in Harry Potter and Billy on stage (Who I Saw in Brighton last year and ROCKED!) but in this - they just all lacked that special sparkle!

If you want one redeeming outcome however to this blog - then Sheridan Smith is brilliant as the Retirement Home Manager - great performance from her.

I wouldnt even call this a comedy at all and it wont captivate you as Marigold but some of the older member of the audience did chortle along constantly but to what - I cant tell you.  The other cast members are almost completely made up of retired BBC Orchestral stars or famous stage actors - most of which will pass most of us by however, I did recognise the guy from Vicar of Dibley who was once (apparently) a great stage actor? But to the rest of us, he played Jim Trott.

If this is your cup of tea then you wont go far wrong - but if you're expecting something as heartwarming as Marigold Hotel - you wont get it here.