Cecily, Reggie and Wilfred are in a home for retired opera singers. Every year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday and they take part. Jean, who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva, but she refuses to sing. Still, the show must go on... even though it is unclear whether it will.
I was lucky to see the gala premiere of this film at the London Film Festival, and I can only hope that red carpet, Pauline Collins and Dustin Hoffman just couple of meters away and overall festive celebration did not cloud my judgement.
This film is not about the story, not about the drama, not about the suspense regarding the performance of the quartet. After all, we all know how this is going to play out from the very beginning. No, this film is about the talent of the actors that play in it, which was projected on their characters. It is about charming Cissy played by Collins, it is about overly dramatic Reginald played by Courtenay. And even though egocentric Jean played beautifully by Maggie Smith is at the center of the story, Wilfred, played by Connolly, steals all the show with sarcastic and up-to-the-point remarks throughout. Michael Gambon also makes fantastic appearance as the fame-seeking organizer of the concert.
There is not much of the material for the actors to flourish on. In fact, the story is somewhat simplistic, but the solid performance of the actors transforms it in the most optimistic, life-assuring story of the year. “Their love for life is infectious”, - proclaims Dr. Cogan closer to the culmination of the film, and it is difficult to disagree with this assertion. Every frame of the movie, every little detail is there to enlighten the action with optimism, and the filmmakers managed to do it without slipping in overly-sweet unrealistic fairy tale. It looks and feels real, and this is what makes it even more precious.
This movie is a delight to watch, charming and heart-melting. It does not impress in terms of the directoral work or script-writing, bit it is a true pleasure to see the veterans to engage the audience easily, leaving it with a slight sweet after-taste.