Going out from the retirement home to see a movie set in another retirement home sounds rather ridiculous, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. The movie we went to see was “Quartet”, Dustin Hoffman’s directing debut, set in a retirement home in England and a great production.
My first thought as the story began was that the film could have been set in our own retirement home, so familiar were some of the scenes and the conversations among the residents. Retirement residents gossip; it’s part of their daily agenda. They talk about people inside the home and they discuss people and events outside the home. They are great on social scandals and are past the age of lowering their voices when touching on a sensitive subject. They also complain, but it’s always about some completely trivial matter. Retirement homes are expensive places so the residents feel they have a right to complain if they think they are not getting their money’s worth. In the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, the retirees were there because they had sought out or had been talked into retiring to a run-down, a cheap retirement place in Jaipur, India. Not so in “Quartet” which was set in a magnificent English estate with rich furnishings and lush, leafy gardens.
Dustin Hoffman chose his cast and his setting well and then added some great voices and opera to his story. In our retirement home we have a lot of music in various forms – lectures, concerts, recitals and movies. I have only seen one resident playing on the piano in the dining room, but I know there are many music mavens here. They make themselves heard in all the other music events. But we’re not quite in the Quartet class.