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By Jess Fenton
17th December 2012

We’ve all seen what he can do with almost any character you can throw at him, but now two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman is stepping behind the camera for the first time at the age of 75 to direct a film about - what else - aging talent.

‘Quartet’, set in English estate Beecham House for retired musicians, centres around three best friends Wilf (Billy Connolly), Cissy (Pauline Collins) and Reginald (Tom Courtenay) as they and the other residents prepare for the annual gala in honour of Verdi’s birthday, an event that funds the faltering home. The residents and the event are thrown into a spin with the arrival of Opera star Jean Horton (Maggie Smith). After a somewhat tempetuous arrival, the four are asked to perform their famous quartet from Rigoletto for the gala - but they must first overcome their fractured pasts and their current views on their wavering talents and issues of growing older.


The talent on and behind the screen is booming and unmissable. With a subject so close to the director's heart, it couldn’t have been handled more beautifully. This may be Hoffman’s first time behind the lens, but his experience and wisdom in front of it clearly cannot be dismissed as these characters, settings and plights come to life before your eyes under his guidance. The humour between battling egos versus the pain and betrayal of relationships is raw and engaging.

No one, shy of experiencing it yourself, could possibly know the life lived by characters such as these. The intimacy shown in each frame, line of dialogue, moment of silence and note sang or played conveys so much with emotional perfection.

Clearly directed by an actor, each part is given careful thought and attention, as Hoffman’s passion and observation of human nature and behaviour have served him well, as well as his ensemble cast of brilliant, warm and charming talent.

A personal symphony to the greats and current aging talents, this English feast by an American legend is a true heart-warmer.

RELEASE DATE: 26/12/2012
RUN TIME: 1h 34m
CAST: Maggie Smith - Jean
Tom Courtenay - Reginald
Billy Connolly - Wilf
Pauline Collins - Cissy
Michael Gambon - Cedric
DIRECTOR: Dustin Hoffman
WRITER: Roland Harwood
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