Sunday, 3 March 2013
I've wanted to see this gentle British comedy-drama for a while. It played to full houses at the Roxy the previous weekend, and there were only a couple of empty seats yesterday. Often it's hard to find these non-blockbuster films.... I mean films that don't have any murders, explosions, death, torture, and other violent forms of entertainment. That's not my thing.
In Dustin Hoffman's debut as a director, three retired members of an opera quartet—Cissy (Pauline Collins), Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reginald (Tom Courtenay)—live in Beecham House retirement home for musicians and perform a fundraising concert every year to celebrate Giuseppe Verdi's birthday.
However, when Reginald's ex-wife and the fourth and most famous member of the quartet, Jean (Maggie Smith.... also known as Violet, Countess of Grantham if you are a Downton Abbey fan!), arrives at Beecham House, rivalries stir and temperaments clash, making it unknown if the show will go on.
The storyline is somewhat weak, but the film is saved by the bantering that goes on between the principal characters which is very funny. Other residents of the retirement home are played by retired opera singers, musicians, and actors who have reached their "golden years". This isn't a "great" movie, but I really enjoyed it, and the audience obviously agreed with me as there was enthusiastic applause as the titles scrolled across the screen.
And I'll watch anything with Billy Connolly in it!