Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quartet Review - 3½ Stars

For a certain bunch of us — that is to say the “Downton Abbey” crowd — when Maggie Smith shows up in something we want to see it.  So I am happy to report to the “Masterpiece Theater” crowd that Maggie does it again in “Quartet.”  The story takes place in a retirement home for musicians somewhere in France.  Maggie arrives after a long career which includes several ex husbands.  Right away she runs into Tom Courtenay, one of her exes, still nursing a grudge.  The home, of course, has shaky finances dependent on an annual performance.  So the plot becomes — will Maggie perform and will her ex forgive her enough to perform with her?   Sure it’s Mickey and Judy put on a show but what the heck — the acting’s grand and the music’s wonderful. Dustin Hoffman makes his directing debut (he’s only 75) and gives his cast a beautiful showcase.  They include Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Pauline Collins, as well as Tom Courteney and Maggie Smith.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Grand entertainment for those who loved “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  Is it entertaining?  Most certainly.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Anything with Maggie smith is worth it.