Before we saw Quartet, all I knew was that Dustin Hoffman directed it and it starred Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey). Having seen everything else decent that was playing, this was our choice.
The movie is set at a retirement home for elderly musicians in England. Every year the residents produce a musical gala celebrating Verdi's birthday. However, putting together this year's gala involves a little more drama, a diva or two, some dementia, and a reunion of former artists. The story is a fairly predictable, but still an enjoyable tale. It rocks along, with enough characters and plot to keep one interested. However, it just lacks something. The movie is good but begs to be so much more.
It is well cast. Not only are there familiar actors, (even if you don't know their names, you'll recognize their faces), many of the roles of the residents at the home are played by little known authentic professional classical musicians and artists. As always, Maggie Smith plays her part with aplomb. But, she alone, cannot carry the load.
I walked out of the theater thinking - I enjoyed that. It was a good movie, but not a great movie. And, then it hit me - this movie was like having a glass of red wine. Looking at it, the wine is a deep red color and has a wonderful aroma. However, when you take your first sip, you find it to be weak, but not bad nor bitter. You can still taste the flavors you imagined, however, they are just faint. But, you keep sipping because the flavor is pleasing and you feel the flavor will get stronger if you just sip it long enough.
I recommend the movie with the caveat that it is a "light" version.