2 1/2 stars
Murder most foul is one thing. Murder most fair is another. The veteran hambones starring in "Quartet" get away with murder most fair, through eye-bugging delight in a double-entendre in close-up (
"Quartet" comes from a minor play by
The place is abuzz: The big gala's a few weeks away, and economic straits threaten the long-term future of the place, which is populated by opera singers, pianists, violinists and music hall veterans, all co-existing in a cozy haze of collective performance memories.
The Smith character, a great operatic star now in her dotage, arrives to Beecham House, sending Courtenay's character, her onetime cuckolded husband from decades past, into a funk, followed by various snits.
While Connolly puts the moves on every female staffer in sight, and Collins copes with addle-headed bouts of mental fog, Courtenay and Smith tentatively explore whether there's anything left to their love. The old operatic gang must persuade Smith's character to perform once more, for the gala, in their signature quartet from Verdi's "Rigoletto."
The actors are fun to watch, even while they're chewing on thin wafers of dialogue such as: "Why do we have to get old?" Reply: "That's what people do." In addition to the leads, there's
"I don't sing anymore, and that is final," Smith announces at one point, in such a way as to ensure that she most certainly will, in the finale. (The lead actors are not called upon to sing more than a few notes, nor to lip-sync.)
The director of "Quartet" is
The material settles for amiably familiar observations about the difficulties of growing old and the glories of being surrounded by beautiful music. "Quartet" does not, however, reconcile the disparity between everybody's supposedly reduced circumstances, living on charity in Smith character's case, and the grand, bucolic splendor of the house and grounds. If these are reduced circumstances, I know where I'm going when I retire from grand opera.
<< RETURN TO MOVIE REVIEWS ...
"Quartet" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language and suggestive humor).
Running time: 1:38.
Credits: Directed by
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
- 'Oz: The Great and Powerful'
- '21 and Over'
- 'Like Someone in Love'
- Argo Wins Top Oscar Prize
- Daniel Day-Lewis Wins 3rd Oscar for 'Lincoln'
- Jennifer Lawrence Makes Up for Forgotten Thank You's during Oscars
- Oscars 2013: Stars Shine at 85th Academy Awards
- 2013 Oscars Winners List
- Anne Hathaway Apologizes for Last-Minute Dress Switch at Oscars
- 'The Gatekeepers'
- Hollywood Prepares for Oscars Night
- 'Amour' Favorite for Best Foreign Film Oscar
- The 2013 Academy Awards by the Numbers
- With Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis Ponders 3rd Oscar
- Nominated Movie Scores Feature Sophistication, Cultural Diversity
- Afghan Coming-of-Age Film is Oscar Contender
- 'Life of Pi's Ang Lee Conquers Anti-Asian Bias
- Most Entertaining Documentary May Win The Oscar
- Oscar-Nominated Film Traces Journey of Ailing African Youngsters
- Sci-Tech Oscars Honor Science of Movie-Making
- Palestinians Hope to Tell Their Story Through the Oscars
- History of the Academy Awards and Oscars
- Host Your Own Oscars Party
- Oscars Party Recipes
- Our Favorite Food Movies
- 'Beautiful Creatures'
- 'A Good Day to Die Hard'
- 'Safe Haven'
- 'A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III'
- 'Side Effects'
- 'Identity Thief'
- 'John Dies at the End'
- Nominees and Movie Fans Get Ready for Oscars
- Two Films, Directors Are Top Oscar Contenders
- 'Warm Bodies'
- 'Bullet to the Head'
- 'Stand Up Guys'
- '56 Up'
- 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'
- Broken City
- The Last Stand
- Argo Wins Top Prize at Golden Globe Awards
- 'Lincoln' Leads Oscar Nominations
- Gangster Squad
- Zero Dark Thirty
- Price Check
- Joe Morgenstern's Top Films of 2012
- Promised Land
- Les Miserables
- Django Unchained
- The Guilt Trip
- Jack Reacher
- This is 40
- Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away
- The Impossible
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
- Hyde Park on Hudson
- Playing for Keeps
- The Central Park Five
- Life of Pi
- Red Dawn
- Rise of The Guardians
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2
- Anna Karenina
- Silver Linings Playbook
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.