Smith happens - Page 2

|
(1)
Golden girls: Quartet's Pauline Collins and Maggie Smith

So, Maggie Smith arrives at Beecham House to the varying delight of former operatic colleagues Pauline Collins (comic ditherer), Billy Connelly (randy old goat), and Michael Gambon (nasty old queen), as well as the initial dismay of Tom Courtenay as the ex-husband whose heart she carelessly broke. Naturally, the joint is in danger of closure and can only be saved by the starry new arrival's participation in an annual charity performance. Yes, it's just like the plot of Roller Boogie (1979), and every other hoary "Let's put on a show to save the [blank]" exercise. You know just what's going to happen — "How dare you!" turns to "Oh, all right then" turns to triumph, although the film (like the play) cheats by declining to actually show us that triumph — and it does, on cue, for 98 digestion-easing minutes.

There's certainly nothing wrong with providing vehicles for beloved older actors — but why does it always have to be this kind of vehicle, bland as toast and no more nutritious? Even Dame Maggie Smith doesn't seem particularly interested; no doubt she'd like to play someone to whom the adjective "bitchy" doesn't apply once in a while. The classical canon is full of great roles for fully mature actors. But for the movies, it seems, after a certain point you only get to play silly old dears or bitter crones. There's got to be room for something between condescending trifles like Quartet and the bleak staring-death-in-the-face of Amour

 

QUARTET opens Fri/25 in Bay Area theaters.

Comments

I was looking at what my viewers said about me in a bout of sentimentality. I thought that there would be some criticism. But how dare you talk about me with such vulgarity. I am astounded that you are so shallow and small minded that you cannot understand a character. I was not bitchy in my roles in Quartet and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and if you cannot understand the characters I am playing then you can go and find someone who plays an actually bitchy character.

Posted by Magaret Smith on May. 05, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

Related articles

  • Breaking points

    New films from China teem with 21st century angst

  • This stuff'll kill ya

    Feed your genre needs at Another Hole in the Head

  • La ho-hum vita

    'The Great Beauty' has style, but doesn't live up to the hype

  • Also from this author

  • Manscape

    The male protagonists of 'Fading Gigolo' and 'Locke' do what they gotta do

  • Devil's advocate

    Sokurov's 2011 'Faust' finally makes its local debut

  • Freedom of expression

    A PFA series pays tribute to Czech New Wave filmmaker Jan Nemec