Follow TV Tropes


Film / Quartet

Go To

Quartet is a 2012 film starring Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins, directed by Dustin Hoffman. The film focuses on the residents of Beecham House, a retirement home for professional musicians, and their efforts to put on an annual fundraising concert in honor of Giuseppe Verdi's birthday. If the concert is not a success, Beecham House will not be able to afford to stay open. Their only hope for drawing a big enough audience is for four old friends to reform their old quartet and perform their famous rendition of Rigoletto.

Only two problems: Jean wants to avoid singing in public again, feeling she is past her prime, and Reg is still heartbroken over Jean's act of infidelity decades before.

  • Always Camp: Cedric, the director. Wilf is constantly amusing himself by finding new ways to annoy him.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Wilf is teasing Doctor Cogan about why she should date an older man like him, comparing himself to other things that get better with age, such as fine wine and seasoned wood. Doctor Cogan, who has already started getting back to work, suddenly realizes what he just said...
    Doctor Cogan: Did you just say wood?!
  • Call-Back: Several minor characters who appeared in single scenes early in the film turn up for the concert at the climax.
    • Also, Wilf catches Doctor Cogan smoking in secret after she berated two of the residents for smoking on a balcony.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Cissy is a bit of a ditz at the best of times, and often forgets things. Played for Drama in that she ends up losing all touch with reality on more than a few occasions and her friends have to help her find her senses.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Many minor characters who had visited Beecham House for various reasons earlier in the film turn up again for the concert at the end.
  • Cool Old Guy: Reg gives talks on Opera and music to groups of local youth, and compares Opera to rap music, despite being the stuffiest member of the Quartet.
    Reg: Opera is: when a guy's stabbed in the back, instead of bleeding, he sings. It seems to me, after much research, that rap is when a guy is stabbed in the back, and instead of bleeding, he talks. Er, rhythmically, even with feeling. But because rap's spoken, the feeling is sort of held in check: all on one note.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters are British, so this is a given. Reg and Jean are both old masters of this.
  • Dirty Old Man: Wilf freely admits to this, and flirts with pretty much all of the female residents and staff of Beecham House.
  • Famed In-Story: Reg, Wilf, Cissy, and Jean are this, having been in the cast of a well-renowned recording of Rigoletto. News of their performing it at the annual retirement home fundraiser prompts massive ticket sales.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: The plot is about getting the quartet together for a performance that will raise enough money to save Beecham House.
  • It's All About Me: Cedric has definite shades of this. Then again, he is the one organizing the entire show.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: After all the buildup, we don't actually see the famed quartet perform, instead having to make do with hearing it over the credits.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the director's commentary, Dustin Hoffman talks about having to reduce the number of f-worlds from 4 to 2 to get a PG-13 rating.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Reg, Wilf, and Cissy need Jean to agree to sing the Rigoletto with them for the concert, but Jean refuses to perform in public again.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Wilf, Wilf, Wilf.
  • The Rival: Anne Langley, who is quick to trade verbal volleys with Jean (and opening herself to a few zingers from the other residents).
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Jean can be harsh to the staff, though she is usually quick to apologize. Wilf is evidently unable to censor himself due to a stroke he suffered (Jean implies that before the stroke, Wilf merely chose not to).
  • Shell Game: Inverted, Cissy has candy in both hands, but lets a young girl think she guessed correctly.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Jean and Reg are out for a walk and stumble upon two young members of the staff hurriedly jumping out of the bushes and straightening their clothes.
    Simon: We were not doing anything.
  • Title Drop: Throughout the movie, since the plot focuses on the four main characters reuniting (after some persuasion) to perform the famous quartet from Rigoletto.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Jean in particular refuses to perform because she believes she's this, but it is arguably true of many of the residents. Reg points out that this trope means that she is free to perform without fear because nobody in the press cares enough about her to rain their usual criticism that she was accustomed to as a celebrity.