Thursday 7 March 2013

Quartet: Sentimental Tosh?

...but I enjoy a bit of sentimental tosh, and Quartet delivers it in spades. Quartet is sentimental in the way that The Well-digger's Daughter (2012 festival) was romantic. Nobody walking into the cinema could have expected anything else. I find it difficult to see how sentiment could have been avoided - perhaps the odd 'go easy on the poignancy, Dustin' would not have gone amiss. It's easy to criticise the inevitable glamorising. They appeared to be living in a country I recognised but in a climate I didn't; each day a perfect summer / autumnal backdrop.

The inhabitants of the home were also unlike any old peoples' home I've ever visited. Most of them appeared capable of a full shift at Tesco, and Tom Courtney looked as though he could audition for the part of a long distant runner. The only casualty waved happily from his stretcher as he was ambulanced off. But this is nit-picking. Cinema has in the past tended to ignore the greying audience. But now the baby boomers are noisily demanding films which portray the ageing process with sympathy and dignity. Watching the actors who are our contemporaries grow old and wrinkled and yet having lost none of their power is profoundly cheering to an audience struggling with dodgy knees and wonky bladders. Quartet is cosy and predictable. It's not challenging and it's not Amour, but the audience of around three hundred did not emerge blinking into the Courtyard glitter demanding more blood, gore and misery.

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