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)
The concert scene in the film is played at the Grace Rainey Hall at the Metropolitan Museum - the same stage where the legendary Guarneri String Quartet played their farewell concert after 45 years of playing together. 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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Most reviews of "A Late Quartet" are nonsense. Don't see this movie if you expect to better your understanding of Beethoven's last compositions. Don't see this film if you expect to listen to his Opus 131 uncut. Don't see this film if you have a hyper-sensitivity to melodrama. This film isn't in the least a melodrama even if, thank goodness, it is far less heady than anything Henry James or Jane Austen might have created.
What "A Late Quartet" is is a simple psychodrama that happens to deal with the lives of performing artists in New York, New York, a particularly artistic milieu. Are artists sometimes conflicted? Do they experience loss? Do they love? Do they debate whether instinct or methodical behavior yields the better result? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
The story line is interesting enough, the acting is first-rate, the direction is tops from the top dog to the second assistant viola instructor of Ms. Keener. We liked the film, which was apparently a big-budget production. That's a shame, because, judging from the box office numbers, it may never cover its costs.
Go see it.
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