Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

Highlights

Open

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Miami skyline viewed through palm trees.

Enjoy fun in the sun during Life@50+, May 14-16, 2015

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

AARP TV

Watch episodes of AARP Live and other AARP broadcasts.

Most Popular

Viewed

Dustin Hoffman's 'Quartet' Boasts British Acting Royalty

4 veteran stars bring heart to a music-infused drama

Director: Dustin Hoffman
Rating: PG-13. Running time: 97 min.
Stars: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins

For his film directorial debut, the iconic American actor Dustin Hoffman brings us Quartet, a very quiet (despite its subject, an opera quartet), very British, very grown-up movie about how it is never too late to do almost anything in life.

Quartet is based on a 1984 documentary called Tosca's Kiss about how, before his death, the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi bequeathed his Milan mansion to retired opera singers and musicians who in old age could hardly afford to pay rent. The film masterfully conveys the age-old human impulse to "refuse to go gently into that good night," as Hoffman himself explains it. The director adds that he was struck, watching the original documentary, by how the musicians featured, though in some cases quite debilitated, "would open their mouths, and their voices refused to go away."

Join the Dating Bootcamp, the new AARP dating service

Hoffman sets his film in the English countryside and has cast in the leading roles an ensemble of British legends. There's Tom Courtenay (nominated for Oscars for his roles in The Dresser and Doctor Zhivago) as the serious and a bit wounded Reggie Paget; the Scottish comedian and banjo performance artist Billy Connolly as the still-spunky and horny Wilf Bond; and Pauline Collins (the one and only Shirley Valentine) as Cissy Robson, who is in the early stages of dementia.

The three former quartet partners have all settled quite happily into the very upscale, classic Beecham House, where they're enjoying their retirement with fellow musicians and preparing for their annual gala concert. But with the arrival of Jean Horton (played by the incomparable Maggie Smith), the group's one-time fourth partner and Reggie's ex-wife, everyone is thrown for a loop. Horton enjoyed a magnificent solo career after ending her relationship with the others, and her big ego remains intact at Beecham. Will she attempt to mend old wounds and reconnect with her friends? And will the four, at the behest of gala director Cedric (Michael Gambon, who appeared recently with Hoffman on HBO's Luck), perform their once-famed quartet from Rigoletto for this year's concert?

Next page: Insights into Hoffman's directorial strategy. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Movies for Grownups Radio

Download weekly podcasts of celebrity interviews, entertainment news and more. Listen


Movies for Grownups Awards

AARP honors the films and filmmakers who make the movies we want to see. Read

300_line

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save up to 20% on live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Movies Unlimited

Members save 10% on purchases of DVDs & Blu-ray discs from Movies Unlimited.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.