Aging isn't for sissies, or so Bette Davis and the four protagonists of Quartet would have us believe. Throw that quote alongside the Bard's famous line about music being the food of love, and you've got the gist of Hollywood legend Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut. Play on, indeed.
Based on the 1999 stage play by Ronald Harwood (The Dresser), the film tells the alternatively moving and wickedly charming story of a group of opera singers living in Beecham House, a retirement home for musicians in the English countryside. Every year on composer Verdi's birthday, the residents team up to give a benefit concert to raise essential funds for their home but when a former opera diva unexpectedly takes up residence, their yearly plans start to come undone. Will the old showbiz adage about the show going on prove true? No spoilers here, you'll have to watch and find out.
Given the film's A-list director it should come as no surprise that Quartet contains some pretty impressive talent in front of the camera. Peppered through with actual retired baritones, sopranos and pianists, the film's cast is led by Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Pauline Collins. Joining them on-screen is perpetual scene stealer Michael Gambon, alongside stalwart British thesps Michael Byrne, David Ryall, Andrew Sachs and Trevor Peacock.
The undoubtedly British movie seems a bit of an odd choice by Hoffman for his first foray behind the camera, so when we caught up with three of the film's stars, Connolly, Courtenay and Collins, shortly before the trio hit the red carpet for their world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this past September, we took the time to ask. Find out what they had to say about Hoffman and the film now:
Quartet opens in Cineplex theatres on January 18.
ETA: Many of you have inquired as to whether Quartet will be coming to your local theatre. It does look as if the studio will be expanding the film slightly in the coming weeks to more screens across the country. Though I don't have specifics as yet as to where that will be, I would suggest your best bet is to check back on Wednesday afternoons to see updated showtimes/movie schedules for the coming week to see if Quartet will be among the movies added where you are.