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Movie Review: A Late Quartet


A famed string quartet getting on in years look to the coming musical season, but struggle with old age, jealously, and the insatiable desire for something more.

Who’s In It:
Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener play the married half of the quarter, while Christopher Walken plays is straight, for the most part, in one of his most compelling roles of recent memory. Mark Ivanir rounds out the foursome as the first violin, and a charmingly mysterious man with unparalleled passion and devastating looks. Which reminds me, the gorgeous, young Imogen Poots is the musical offspring of Hoffman and Keener, at times complicating matters…did I mention she is young and gorgeous?

A tempered widower at peace with finite nature of life, a married couple driven by love of their shared careers, and a dedicated yet brilliant loner make up the captivating foursome in what is more or less a high-minded and sophisticated soap opera. Brilliant acting and beautiful music propel a story that is a bit predictable, but compelling throughout, a credit to fine direction by Yaron Zilberman, but more so to his talented cast.

When one thing starts to go wrong, everything seems to, as the film opens with the eldest member of the quartet receiving some regretful health news. As one piece of the legendary foursome becomes uncertain, the other pieces encounter their own respective weakness. One questions past choices, while another feels the latent stirrings of game. Another still feels a different kind of stirring (I wonder who).

The path of film may be spelled out, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get surprisingly tense and loud, with more than a couple very raw, emotional, and uncomfortable moments. There is also one very exciting finish. These are people, though, who have spent a better part of 25 years together. And one part of the quartet is out of tune, they all suffer.

How to See It:
It is hard to make the case for theatre viewing, though the strength of the tension of some scenes will make you all the more uncomfortable. Very worthy and interesting, you may be able to wait for this one, just don’t confuse it with Quartet, coming out in January.

[star v=35]

Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.