For all the references to its characters' infirmities, Quartet delivers quite a cosy and light-hearted version of old age, but Hoffman's deft direction and his cast's note-perfect performances make it enormously entertaining.
The point isn't that Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut suffers in comparison with other films about old age, such as Amour. The point is that it's so spectacularly silly and sentimental, it simply suffers in comparison with other films.
As the film's characters are reaching the end of their lives, loose ends will be tied and soul searching will be done. Hoffman gracefully orchestrates the story's emotional arc. Quartet is a lovely late-career surprise from a master actor.
Of course, let's take care not to oversell this piece, which is the sort of genteel art-house offering that will thrill older audiences but seems unlikely to break out with those who don't know Downton Abbey from Howards End.
'Quartet' is one of the best movies you'll ever see about old age and while it does wind up as a celebration of life it doesn't flinch when dealing with some of the unpleasant realities of growing older.