Monday 11 December 2017

Lorraine Courtney: Why it's never been a more exciting time to be an OAP

'QUARTET', Dustin Hoffman's country-house, putting-on-a-play drama is on screens nationwide right now with older luvvies Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly battling the side-effects of ageing. The house is a care home for retired actors and singers, and the white-haired reality is that some people, like Maggie Smith's character Jean, repeat themselves.

Others, like Wilf, played by Connolly, have problems with piles and their prostate. "Why do we have to get old?" Jean asks her long-estranged ex-husband, who's also living in the home. "Because," says Tom Courtenay's character, "that's what people do". It's sad, but also beautiful because it's true.

Yes, people do age, though you wouldn't usually think it when watching films. And while 'Quartet' does tend to patronise with sentimentality and easy laughs, at least it does – unlike television and much of the media – acknowledge that old people exist. It's part of a wider thing, too.

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