After a classical string quartet's 25 years of success, Peter, the cellist and oldest member, decides that he must retire when he learns he has Parkinson's Disease. For the others, that announcement proves a catalyst for letting their hidden resentments come to the surface while the married members' daughter has disruptive desires of her own. All this threatens to tear the group apart even as they are famous for playing Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14, opus 131, a piece that is played non-stop no matter how life interferes. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Peter Mitchell tells his class an anecdote about the two times he met cello legend Pablo Casals; this anecdote is a true incident that happened to another legendary cellist, the late Gregor Piatigorsky. This anecdote is paraphrased from Piatigorsky's autobiography, "Cellist". See more »
While the quartet is assembling to practice in the beginning of the movie, Daniel is asked to give a first violinist a listen, Daniel says he will. He looks to Juliette, who agrees that's a good idea. She is shown with her bow at waist height, but in the next shot she is holding it in front of her face. See more »
Time present and time past are both perhaps present in time future, and time future contained in time past. If all time is eternally present, all time is unredeemable. Or say that the end precedes the beginning, and the end and the beginning were always there before the beginning and after the end. And all is always now.
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This was, for me, a wonderfully SATISFYING movie--I enjoyed seeing it, talking about it, remembering seeing it. I think some critics have inadvertently played it false, suggesting that it is about the music; it's not. It's about the quartet and the people in it: the crises they face and the compromises they make. In short, it's a drama. One critic above says 'the film's biggest flaw is that the four individuals are so indulged in a reality that this string quartet is the most important thing in the world, that the movie-goer is often left asking why is it so important.' OK, so that's not really English, but you get the idea. That reviewer is apparently unfamiliar with what is, after all, a fairly arcane phenomenon, the long-lived classical string quartet. Not everybody (OK, hardly anybody) has heard of the great quartets, even though several have been international stars for 50 years: the Budapest, I Solistic di Zagreb, the Borodin, the Guarneri. They're not Top of the Charts and never were; they don't play to Springsteen/Streisand-size audiences; they perform in concert halls not ballparks. But the movie makes clear that this group has been together for a quarter-century and is beloved, admired and world famous: nuff said. And it is obvious from the script that the quartet is their life's work and greatest achievement, and because it is also a shelter against their personal troubles, its members are as desperate to protect it as they are to protect themselves. It's all they have. Another critic above seems to think it impossible that a professional musician would forget his valuable instrument in a taxi. Well, for as long as I can remember that has been reported in NYC newspapers about once every five years or so. If you doubt my word, Google 'Stradivarius left in taxi'. (Oddly, the Strad seems to be the world's most famous AND forgotten violin). Another plus: Imogen Poots. The name alone makes me swoon.
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