The film is set at Beecham House – a home for retired musicians – and follows the loud-mouthed and inappropriate Wilf (Billy Connolly), flighty Cissy (Pauline Collins), and Reggie (Tom Courtenay), who holds their little group together. But when their former singing partner and world-class star – not to mention Reggie’s ex-wife – Jean (Maggie Smith) moves into the house, they are shocked. The characters must try and overcome old (not racially motivated!) prejudices, and work to discover whether the passage of time can heal old wounds.
It’s a congenial comedy-drama, which is charming at its best and slightly cloying at its worst. The pace is as sedate and leisurely as the average walking speed of the elderly cast. Quartet is heartwarming, but not hard-hitting – which is a shame, as I imagine actors like Smith could’ve done with something meatier to chew on, instead of creamed corn.
Quartet is fun, light, and features a seasoned cast of talented British veterans. It’s all very pleasant – and whether you think that sounds pleasing is a matter of personal taste.
3 stars out of 5.