London Film Festival 2012 – day six: Quartet
Saturday 20th October, 1pm – Odeon West End
Quartet is a British comedy that stars the luminaries of British cinema old enough to have a free bus pass. Dustin Hoffman sits in the director’s chair for the first time on this production of Ronald Hawood’s play of the same name.
Quartet is set in a retirement home for former musicians, the status quo slightly rocked by the arrival of Jean Horton (Maggie Smith – the Harry Potter Series, Room With A View). In a way it’s a comedy of manners for the operatic world.
Hoffman has aimed squarely for the middle of the road with his first foray into directing features. The comedy is incredibly mild; old people suffering from senility, old people talking about rap and unlikely swearing from the elderly are some of the main founts of comedy. It’s not unfunny but is not likely to have you in stitches either.
The casting is perhaps the least imaginative facet of Quartet. Billy Connolly as a cheeky but lovable rogue, Michael Gambon as figure of authority, Maggie Smith playing a stern lady with a heart of gold. Every member of the cast seems to have been chosen because they were the safest option. While everyone performs with the efficiency you would expect from these veterans, it just feels slightly lazy.
It very much feels like Quartet is another attempt to tap into the grey pound. With the surprising success of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the increase in pensioners visiting cinemas it is understandable that films aimed at the elderly are being made more frequently. There is nothing stunningly wrong with Quartet, it’s just very mild and unchallenging. It will find an audience in the UK and perhaps to a smaller extent, overseas territories but hopefully Hoffman will try harder next time around.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.
Watch the trailer for Quartet here: