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Malvern has a somewhat old-fashioned single-screen cinema, and it takes a while for films to diffuse out this far into the boondocks. When they finally do get here, it’s only the real blockbusters that are scheduled for more than a single week. So that means that, in the event that there is a film on that I actually want to watch, I have to be organised, keep an eye out for it, and make the time to go. The alternative is to go to one of the cinema multiplexes in Worcester, but that’s too much of an effort at the moment.

I read reviews of Quartet in the Sunday papers several months ago, and thought it sounded interesting, so I have been waiting for it to get around to visiting Malvern. But, as luck would have it, it’s here at a time when work has gone absolutely manic. I’m working lots of overtime, and have multiple off-site meetings with customers, all of which means I’m far too tired to go out to the cinema in the evenings. And nor can I work my flexitime to go to a mid-week matinee, as there are too many late-afternoon project meetings to attend. So if I was going to see the film at all, it was going to have to be this weekend. My initial plan had been to go to the Saturday afternoon showing, but I was fighting off a migraine all day, and sitting in front of a flickering screen would only have made matters worse. So that left this afternoon as the only possible opportunity. I really had to force myself to go – sometimes it’s just so much easier to curl up at home and ignore the outside world, particularly when I’m getting over a migraine. But I don’t think it’s particularly good for me to vegetate at home, so I bullied myself into going.

I was glad that I’d made the effort. The film is directed by Dustin Hoffman, and based on a Ronald Harewood play about a home for retired musicians. The quartet of the title were Billy Connolly as a rather dirty old man, Pauline Collins as a very confused woman in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, and Tom Courtenay and Maggie Smith as a divorced couple. He’s been resident at the Home for some time, and his comfortable retirement is all shaken up by the arrival on the scene of his ex-wife, especially as she is still acting as a massive diva. The quartet famously sang Verdi together decades ago, and there is a will-they/won’t-they tension as to whether they will reunite and sing together at a gala concert to raise funds for the retirement home. Of course they do in the end, with the Maggie Smith character having to learn to be rather less of a diva on the way.

One of the nice touches about the film was that many of the bit-parts and extras were in fact played by retired musicians and opera singers. During the end credits, there were pictures of them as they are now, and on-stage in their prime.

I bumped into an ex-colleague on the way out, who is now long-since retired, and he asked me what on earth I was doing there as I was far too young for it! I think I may well have been the youngest person in the nearly-full cinema! But it was fun, a good light piece of entertainment, and I’m glad I made the effort to go.