Rated 3.0

For Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, Ronald Harwood adapts his own play about an English retirement home for esteemed musicians. The resulting quasi-farce gathers Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Maggie Smith in a cozy ensemble display of good acting and deconstructed diva ego. A certain Hoffmanesque warmth and wiliness permeates the proceedings, and an affinity for the vicissitudes of the performer's life, including the intangibles of grudging backstage whisper gossip, brokenhearted reminiscences, and lamented lost minds and loves. More a comfort than a challenge, the movie has a sort of raggedness that might need some acclimation but also helps offset the canned quality of its getting-the-band-back-together scenario, a tense reunion for the home's annual revue. If you're wanting an old-folks film and worried that Michael Haneke's Amour looks too posh or too heavy, this might be the one to catch instead.