“Quartet”: A Film About Aging With Hope

QUARTET is a wickedly comic film about redefining old age and growing old with hope; demonstrating how art illuminates life and the human spirit remains undimmed even as the brightest stars start to fade.” BBC

A current film about aging that could be used for “movie therapy” is the enjoyable Quartet. The entire setting is Britain’s Beecham House, a retirement home for musicians. And not just any musicians—very accomplished ones.

Upon learning this up front while watching the movie, I had to wonder…what would it be like to be in a similar facility for aging therapists? Would such a thing even be desirable? How might I feel about that? I hear you asking how you might feel about that. Geez, just tell me! How would I feel about that?!?

Well, anyway…More from the above-cited critic Steven Rea on the basics of Quartet:

Adapted by Ron Harwood from his stage play, and directed – in a smart and accomplished debut – by Dustin Hoffman, Quartet is a charming and poignant investigation into the autumn years in which four friends, former opera company stars, come together to put on a show. Of course, there are obstacles to surmount along the way: Jean Horton (the ever droll and beguiling Maggie Smith), a reluctant new arrival at Beecham House, long ago broke the heart of Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), a dapper chap who is not happy to see Jean again.

Meanwhile, the bubbly Cissy (Pauline Collins) is showing signs of Alzheimer’s – forgetfulness, disorientation – and the randy Wilf (Billy Connolly) has prostate issues. A hopeless flirt, Wilf’s nonstop come-ons to Beecham’s female staff, and to the attractive young doctor who runs the place (Sheridan Smith), would be offensive if his lechery weren’t so benign. A man with a waggish smile and a Scottish brogue can be forgiven much…

The trailer:

Selected Reviews

Kyle Smith, New York Post: “‘Quartet’ isn’t a penetrating inquiry into aging. Who wants that? We all know the facts, so let’s not begrudge some fancy.”

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: “Everyone onscreen is experienced enough to realize that we create our own fates, regardless of the directions in which we are pushed.”

Rex Reed, New York Observer: “In their most poignant exchange, Ms. Smith asks ‘Why did we have to get old?’ and Mr. Courtenay says, ‘That’s what people do.’ But few do it with such grace and dignity, in a film with so much affection, tenderness and charm.”

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