Written May 03, 2016
Yes, of course I was going to see a film about aging opera singers, ESPECIALLY with the cast in this film. Seriously? Maggie Smith? Tom Courtenay? Pauline Collins? Michael Gambon? And Billy Connolly???? They are very simply wonderful, the dynamics are irresistable (as is Billy Connolly, but I've always had a thing for baritones, and he nails the type brilliantly). This is a charming, quiet film which deserves more attention. The music is wonderful, and although none of the actors are actually singers (with the wonderful exception of Dame Gwyneth Jones!), the director has handled that very well. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves opera, great acting, and a good story.
Written August 24, 2016
If you think you know what this film is about, guess again. Life is just not that simple.
There is a good deal of depth developed, a strong touch of realism, sweetness, objectivity, not to mention beauty and joy. If you want to enjoy a truly entertaining movie, if you love excellent acting, a very well written script, and what is an obvious joy to have directed, go and see it.
The actors don't have to struggle here. There is a real script, a talented director, and people are really drawn into the film, from minute one to last moment. There's really no morbidity to speak of, but a realistic storyline that I think almost anyone can relate to. Young or old, you just may find you're surprised at how much you enjoy it. I was.
Dustin, you outdid yourself, my man!
Written December 11, 2016
Wonderful dialogue and interactions between characters that are real people. Maggie Smith never, never disappoints! The cast is made up of real musicians and vocal artists who perform throughout the film, which is incidental but very enriching.
Written May 30, 2016
True, as older adults we like watching movies about a generation of people we can relate to and yes this was directed by actor Dustin Hoffman. Overall the movie is charming, but there was really not enough time used to explain the histories of the performers, build their characters or give them enough realistic time to reconnect. Nobody just starts talking as if they were back in the good old days without lots more tension and time to heal the wounds.
Also, quite frankly, I think it would have been far more realistic if he used actors who could really sing so seeing the Quartet actually perform would have made a major difference in the ending. Hearing the familiar voice of Pavrotti signing the quartet was distracting. And not seeing them sing made it fake. Also the soprano who did sing was quite obviously singing along to someone elses record. She could never have hit those high notes at her age. they could have taken the music orchestration down a scale to accommodate her.
Written January 16, 2017
This movie stars the wonderously talented Dame Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly. The setting is a retirement home called Beecham House in the English country side for retired professional singers and musicians. The home and the grounds are gorgeous. The beauty of the setting coupled with the music that is provided throughout the movie by the residents, becomes almost another character in the film. The movie does tackle the harsh aspects of aging and losing health, but it does so with humor and dignity. It follows the classic Hollywood script of having the old gang get together to perform one more time to secure the funding to keep their home open. In the process, the audience is treated to the talents of many of Great Britain's most talents actors, singers, and musicians. This will be a movie that I will cherish and watch over and over again.