Plot summary (from the studio): Beecham House is abuzz. The rumor circling the halls is that the home for retired musicians is soon to play host to a new resident. Word is, it’s a star. For Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), Wilfred Bond (Billy Connolly) and Cecily Robson (Pauline Collins) this sort of talk is par for the course at the gossipy home. But they’re in for a special shock when the new arrival turns out to be none other than their former singing partner, Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). Her subsequent career as a star soloist, and the ego that accompanied it, split up their long friendship and ended her marriage to Reggie, who takes the news of her arrival particularly hard. Can the passage of time heal old wounds? And will the famous quartet be able to patch up their differences in time for Beecham House’s gala concert?
Warning: Spoilers below!
- With all the great names involved in this film, I had no doubt that I’d be treated to some fine performances, even if the storyline itself wasn’t interesting. I was right. Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay in particular were excellent, and well worth watching.
- I usually don’t care for B-plot love stories in films, but Reggie and Jean were kind of sweet in this one. I’m glad they were going to get a second chance after all those years.
- Okay, I know none of the main quartet were actually opera singers and wouldn’t have done the song justice, but after spending most of the film building up to that final performance it seemed like such a major cop out not to actually show it! Yes, it was made clear that the quartet really did go out there and perform, and I guess we can assume that they did well. But viewers deserved to see something more after sticking with the film for that long.
- It seems that in any film featuring a group of old people, there’s at least one character that makes inappropriate sexual comments towards younger women (I’m talking about Wilf and the doctor here). I don’t know why this is considered acceptable. Is it supposed to be funny because the old man presumably can’t act on his feelings? I only ever see this kind of thing as harassment and I hate it!
- The story was a bit dull in places. There was never any doubt (at least in my mind) that Jean would come around and agree to perform, so the endless circling and dodging of the question just became repetitive and boring after a while.
I found Quartet to be an average/decent film. While there were some good performances, the storyline definitely lacked drama and tension, which made for numerous lulls in the “action”. Plus, without seeing even a bit of the quartet’s final performance, I felt cheated out of the climax of the whole thing. I give this one 3 stars out of 5.