2012, Maggie Smith, Billy Connelly, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins. Written by Ronald Harwood (adapted from his stage play). Directed by Dustin Hoffman.
If you missed this one in theaters, then definitely look for it on disc, cable, or Netflix. It’s a charming, character-driven story about aging musicians and opera divas living harmoniously together in a retirement home. They each have their own lifetime’s worth of emotional baggage to bear, but when a new arrival brings some very complicated personal history with her, painful memories swell to the surface for several of the residents.
As if having to deal with the problems of aging isn’t enough, personality clashes strike a sour note when the annual Verdi tribute concert is suddenly overshadowed by the arrival of Jean Horton. She’s an infamous diva refusing to come to terms with her current living arrangements who happens to be the ex-wife of one of the other residents. They haven’t seen each other in decades and all the old feelings – good and bad – bring all the old tempers, drama, and rivalries to the forefront.
Billy Connelly is a real treat and Maggie Smith is in top form, as usual. Connelly has the most comedic role and portrays the delightfully sex-obsessed Wilf with flair and gusto. Stick around for the closing credits – most of the home’s residents are played by actual retired musicians and singers who shine with a special glow.