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on 21 April 2017
I love "The Quartet". A beautiful film. Ok, it's pure fiction, but sheer delight, both scenically and musically. Every character is wonderful. I can watch this over and over again. However, I'm getting on (quite a bit), therefore I will suggest that only us oldies would enjoy it, maybe it's not for those under 60 or so.
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on 13 October 2017
Brilliant. Great actors and such a poignant story, but told with touches of very British humour. The kind of thing that demarcates our home-produced films from Hollywood films. Reality at the heart of it even though some aspects might be exaggerated for the sake of art!
This story is so sympathetically told. Did the author visit residential homes for older folk while writing it? The essence of the humour, the dignity, sometimes the despair, the failing self-confidence, the petty carping but the underlying support for one another, reflects something of the stoic, never-give-in attitude of people of this generation, and some of the characters reminded me of my parents - now departed, but never forgotten - particularly as my father was a musician. And playing music keeps the mind very sharp (until a stroke ruins everything - real life, not talking about the movie).
This film brought both laughter and tears. It had me fully engaged from beginning to end. The acting is superb. The director seems to have aimed for under-statement of the tragic bits, which might otherwise have been awkward, but has brought out the very credible personalities of the characters with tremendous insight and success.
Well done to writers, director, actors, photographers and everyone involved in the making of this film. I think it's a great credit to all who were involved in it.
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on 16 August 2017
This is a film that actually grows on you as it progresses, the majority of the '1 star' reviews are from people who watched 10 minutes OR LESS? Idiots one and all because while I respect their right to give whatever they wish it's nigh impossible and certainly unfair to even write a review UNLESS the whole or most of the film has been seen. That aside then, the storyline now is well known so no need to waffle on about that. In my opinion however, there is NOT a single aspect or department, from music - photography - screenplay - acting (or NOT as Mr Hoffman wished) - direction - production, absolutely NOTHING I could possibly criticise. A wonderfully tranquil story, with much of the cream and stalwarts of British Stage, Television and Film and most of whom I have grown-up with - Tom Courtenay - Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Pauline Collins - Upstairs Downstairs and so many more. A TRUE pleasure to watch.
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on 27 May 2014
To adapt an original theatrical play into a film can be tricky of which Dustin Hoffman’s version of Ronald Harwood’s play is an example. Though Harwood adapted the play himself, the final form doesn’t seem to be the same. The four central characters, though performed magnificently by the quartet (or Quartet?) of great actors don’t have much in common with the ones in the original play. Jean Horton’s trauma of having lost her voice and the conflict with Reg lack the suspense of the gradually revealed secret(s) which is what makes the play ever so attractive. Actually, nothing mysterious or even shocking is revealed in the end. The two new characters, who never materialize in the play, though being irresistibly pleasant and undeniably compassionate (Dr. Cogan) or equally irresistibly irritating and funny (Cedric Livingstone), are too one-dimensional to be of more importance to the story apart from contributing to the length of the film. Even the purpose of the annual concert as presented in the film feels quite out of place – somehow conforming to the general trends of promoting “good causes” whenever the creators find it suitable. The original idea of making the Verdi anniversary a useful pastime activity for the aging former stars was more true to life.
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on 2 April 2018
This is a fabulous film, sensitive, funny, witty and life-giving. I am now aged 80 and I found the occasional lapses of memory hilarious and comforting. If you get the DVD you must also see the long commentary by the director, Dustin Hoffman. He reveals how much of the dialogue was ad libbing, particularly by Billy Connolly.I last saw the film five years ago and I plan to see it again in five years time.
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on 1 January 2014
We watched this on New Year's Eve and thoroughly enjoyed it - sad when it ended. It is a warm, very natural and human comedy played by superb actors and actresses and retired musicians and singers of the highest quality - as may be seen in the end credits. They must have had a wonderful time making this movie. Dustin Hoffman has made a sensitive and splendid job of directing this movie - probably because he is a film actor - as Dame Maggie Smith and others explain in one of the bonus features on the DVD. It is not a film which will appeal to the usual run of movie-goer, evidenced by some of the ignorant and silly 1 & 2 star reviews. But for those who love life and fun and are themselves growing older and have an undertanding of human nature and "life" - they will find this film to be a "cracker"!! More, please, Mr Hoffman. And may the thoroughly professional cast of "Quartet" - all of them without exception - continue to bring happiness and delight to us, their viewing public!
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on 21 February 2014
The best thing about this film are the performances by the former singers and instrumentalists whose past and present photographs are displayed just before the closing credits. The DVD is worth owning for this alone! The performances of the 'Quartet' are contrived and unconvincing. Nobody will be persuaded that any of these four were former Opera singers, least of all the dismal 'acting' of Billy Connolly who is way out of his depth and an irritant whenever he appears. The script is partly at fault: former Opera singers would be lapsing into Italian/French/German by the minute and there is none of that here. So the film is not for musicians or singers because it is simply unconvincing. It's a missed opportunity as the subject of declining resources while the spirit is still young is both profound and moving. Zefferelli failed in his film 'Callas Forever' with a similar type of idea, and Hoffmann is similarly unsuccessful. If you purchase this DVD, fast forward to the closing credits as what has gone previously will only disappoint.
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on 20 February 2016
I bought this film because Maggie Smith was in it. I had just watched 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' and thought this film would be as good. For me it was nowhere near the mark. I actually nodded off. It is very slow and well, boring. It is about a home for retired musicians and I guess the casting was not quite right because I didn't believe in the actors at all. It is unbelievable from the beginning and I was quite frankly astonished that these actors had agreed to take part. It was not for me and I feel I have been generous with my 2 stars.
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on 29 May 2013
Firstly, if you don't like Classical music very much, and the idea of Opera sets your teeth on edge, this film may not be the one for you. However, if you can put your musical tastes to one side and just look at the people, this is a bitter sweet story, set in a retirement home for elderly musicians. The plot is pivoted on the fact that the home is strapped for cash and the annual Concert is to be a good fundraiser. The four principle characters, (The Quartet), are persuaded to sing (a quartet) that they performed professionally, years ago, when in their prime. The sub-plot is the clash of egos and the wonderfully constructed bitchy conversations and asides that punctuate the film.
For my money, this film has Credibility. The actors playing the part of old people ARE old, so they don't have to act. The extras and bit parts are retired musicians, so THEY don't have to pretend to play, clumsily. It is all so right!
If you decide to watch The Quartet, be sure that The Lady Wife has a couple of tissues handy. This is not a sad film, it is a film of triumph over adversity and any tears shed are the tears of success, not sadness.
One final word. You will need to see this film more than once, before you can sink into it. I suggest, you watch it, wait three days and watch it again. THEN you will begin to enjoy it. I did.
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on 20 June 2017
As one whose tastes in music are extraordinarily eclectic I am both delighted and amazed to be able to say that there is not a single note in this film that fails to enchant me.
None of the cast need any recommendation from me and, whilst Sheridan Smith had to do the best she could with an arguably misconceived character, that is hardly enough to make me waver from an overall 5-star rating. I just love it!
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