Each year holiday season sees release of many new movies, and this year is no exception. I treated myself to a movie I wish to tell you about a little bit later in this post.
It is also the time of the year when most of us have more free time than usual as work places and schools are closed while we farewell the departing, and welcome the New Year. We reflect on what has come to pass and hope for what is yet to come; a brand new year still wrapped in a shiny gift paper.
After some initial uncertainties, I was able to spent Christmas day with my daughter and her boyfriend just before they head off to Otago University to start their respective studies. A brand new chapter in young lives … a chapter as exciting and mysterious as the shiniest gift under the Christmas tree! Oh the plans, the dreams, the ideas … and of course the mother’s pride and joy -:)!
There is nothing that can illuminate the parent’s heart with as much light, as witnessing happiness in their child’s life. The Completion of the Circle; when all the pieces: those forged from all the worries, fears and anxieties only migrant parent knows, join those new, shiny pieces forged from future, love, ambition and hope, forming a Continuum of Life.
And so on Christmas day, my transition was completed (or I was ”upgraded”) from a migrant-parent to a visiting parent! What a joy!
And I learned on the spot that a visiting-parent is one for whom cups of tea and coffee are made (”WE do it this way Mum”), the one who is gently nudged out of the kitchen (‘’WE need a kitchen Mum”), and who is generally kept in a role of observer and advisor. Well, I could not have been happier watching my girl starting to write the first chapter in her own book of life. She is young, but she is very capable in all aspect of life; from academic, to work-places, to kitchen … and I am deeply grateful for it all!
Having been newly ”upgraded” to a visiting-parent role, it was time to start learning how to handle such a role with grace (and learn what to do with one self in the process -:)! Going to see the movie Quartet was my first treat, and what a delight it was!
I long admire Maggie Smith and can hardly resist any movie with her in it, so Quartet was no different. Together with Maggie Smith (as Jean Horton); Tom Courtenay (as Reginald or Reg), Pauline Collins (as Cecily or Cissy), and Billy Connolly (as Wilfred or Wilf) form a fantastic main cast in roles of four retired opera singers, each bringing distinctly different flavor to their roles.
The movie was filmed at Hedsor House in Buckinghamshire in autumn 2011 and is Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut based on the same-titled play by Ronald Harwood.
Together with other retired musicians, Cissy, Wilf and Reg live their last days peacefully in Beecham House, a retirement home for gifted musician. Music, memories and eccentrics of old age is what dominate retiree’s days. Each year they put on a concert on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday. It is the annual event, preparations for which take most of their time and energy during the year.
This careful equilibrium is shaken when Jean, most famous of them all, arrives to live in Beecham House. Not only has Jean chosen life of seclusion in order to preserve her diva status and legend, but she was also Regie’s wife once.
However, in time and through a series of events, in which Wilf’s antics play no small part in the best Billy Connolly style, Regie learns that despite Jean’s subsequent professional glory, and two marriages, she still regards end of their marriage as her life’s biggest mistake.
In the movie, Jean is gently guided towards her second chance … chance to conquer her paralysing fear of ruining her diva legend by singing again, only this time on the stage of a retirement home and possibly been a bit rusty on high notes, and a chance to return to a man who never stopped loving her by admitting her young foolishness.
You see it was also the completion of one’s circle … continuum of life through love and courage that it gives.
Let us all welcome 2013 in this way!
- Dustin Hoffman tells how he won over Maggie Smith (dailymail.co.uk)
- An Aging ‘Quartet,’ Still Polishing Their Legends (npr.org)
- Quirky First Trailer for Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Quartet’ (aceshowbiz.com)
- Quartet: The Least Exotic Country Retirement Home (entertainment.time.com)
- Film Review: Quartet (2012) (filmblerg.com)
- Movie opening dis week – Quartet (2012) (review) (rewindonnet.wordpress.com)
- Exclusive clip from Quartet, the new film from debut director Dustin Hoffman (telegraph.co.uk)