Beecham House is where all the elite musicians and singers go to retire. Of course, with having a house full of former diva’s, there is a constant air of harmless rivalry of ego’s, finding every opportunity to boast of their glory days. Quartet is a lovely film that shows the lives of former stars, dealing with the reality of aging and the mischief they get up to amuse themselves.
Everyone is preparing for the upcoming Gala concert, held in honour of the founder Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, to help raise funds to keep the Beecham House from closing. The flamboyant director Cedric Livingstone (Michael Gambon) is adamant that all selected pieces be show stoppers. He is constantly calling emergency meetings, confusing the sweet Cissy Robson (Pauline Collins) and taken the mickey out of by ladies man Wilfred Bond (Billy Connolly). With all this excitement in the air, its announced that they will be graced with a new resident. Curiosity runs wild, when the only clue they have is that its someone very famous. When the car finally arrives, Cissy rushes to share the news with her former quartet members, Wilfred and Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay). Unfortunately, the news, that it is the fourth member of their former group, does not please everyone. In fact, Reginald is horrified that his former love and wife is the honoured resident.
Jean Horton, left the Quartet and divorced Reginald to pursue a very successful solo career. Her time at Beecham House is spent trying to mend old wounds and friendships, all the while a concert has to be put on. Cedric wants the Quartet to be the finale with their infamous performance of Bella figlia dell’amore from Rigoletto. But getting Jean to agree proves to be a struggle.
Quartet is a truly enjoyable film, from start to finish with light humour and real emotions. The cast complement one another so naturally and each brings a special dynamic to the table.