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Dustin Hoffman's first film as a director is a treat for the actors involved, and what actors they are: the cast includes Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly. Scripted by Ronald Harwood from his play,
is a romantic comedy drama about the travails and delights of a handful of aged opera singers living reasonably contentedly in a stately retirement home. But the plans for their annual Verdi fundraising concert are turned upside down when diva Jean Horton (Smith) - the final member of a famous quartet to arrive at the home and also the ex-wife of Reggie (Courtenay) - shows up unannounced. Hoffman has cast his actors in roles that fit them well and they reward him with fine performances: Courtenay is courtly, Collins good-hearted and busy (though her character suffers from dementia) and Connolly is cheeky and flirtatious, while Smith's pride hides her feelings and fears. There is nothing startling or challenging about
, but it's a delightful film that touches on themes of ageing and the enduring importance of art. And the film's location, Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire, plays a character in its own right, adding splendour to the warmth.
Three former opera singers prepare for their annual concert to mark Verdi's birthday and raise funds for their retirement home. However, this year, a famous diva has joined the group, and her history with the others threatens the performance. Comedy drama, directed by Dustin Hoffman and starring Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon.
Cast & Crew
Dr Lucy Cogan
DVD and Blu-ray
21 Dec 2012
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