5 April 2013 6:49 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

This drama about a string quartet in chaos after their cellist develops Parkinson's is a great grownup surprise

A Late Quartet is one of the week's most unexpected pleasures. What could have been a TV movie is actually a heartfelt, intelligent, unassumingly well-constructed picture about a musician who has been diagnosed in the early stages of Parkinson's. Admittedly, there are moments when it looks a bit middlebrow, a little soap opera-ish, and it inevitably suffers in comparison with Michael Haneke's Amour, which it calls to mind in one scene. But there's also a forthright unsentimentality driving the drama.

Christopher Walken gives a gentle and atypical performance as Peter, a much-loved and admired cellist, the emotional linchpin of the Fugue Quartet, which has been together for 25 years. He is older and wiser than the others: first violinist Daniel (Mark Ivanir), and the second violinist Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Juliette »

- Peter Bradshaw

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