A Late Quartet (2012)

R  |   |  Drama, Music  |  23 November 2012 (Canada)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 10,296 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 71 user | 163 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pamela Quinn ...
Parkinson's Class Instructor
Brooklyn Parkinson Group ...
Parkinson's Class Participants
Cristian Puig ...
Flamenco Guitarist
Rebeca Tomas ...
Flamenco Dancer
Sotheby's Executive
David Redden ...
Ted Hartley ...
Winning Bidder


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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No arrangement is more beautiful...or more complicated.


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 November 2012 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

A búcsúkoncert  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$75,279 (USA) (2 November 2012)


$1,561,577 (USA) (8 March 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


[first lines]
Peter Mitchell: 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.
See more »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Identity Thief (2013) See more »


String Quartet in F-minor Op. 20/5 (3rd Movement)
Written by Joseph Haydn (as Franz Joseph Haydn)
Performed by Brentano String Quartet
See more »

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User Reviews

A Late Quartet--Review
8 January 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

As the film opens and the four members of the renown, Manhattan based Fugue string-quartet grace their humble audience and stage, they slowly bow…and the film cuts.

Like so many movies before it, the film starts where it ends.

Like a cheap, brand new suit or a stuffy high-brow gala, Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet is a fine piece of high cultured entertainment with low-brow issues.

Graced with fine classical music and an impeccable musical score from Angelo Badalamenti, the music is just the setting for a simple story of passion and love. But the twist in the narrative as the film unfolds, is not the love and passion the quartet shares for one another, but rather a sizzling passion for the sounds and beauty of classical compositions.

Like any hobby or refined passion, A Late Quartet is a showcase of how music affects the lives of people who allow them to be engulfed by the mesmerizing strings of some of the greatest musicians to have ever lived.

Once together, the Fugue is a metaphor of beauty, wisdom and harmony; consisting of a group of people who are diverse both physically and emotionally. The members of the quartet include violin I and perfectionist Daniel Lerner (Mark Ivanir); violin II and the emotional impulse of the quartet Robert Gelbart (Philip Seymour Hoffman); viola and the sensible lone female composer Juliette Gelbart (Catherine Keener); and finally the glue and backbone of the quartet, aging cellist veteran and mentor to all three players Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken).

Upon learning of his weary health and the early signs of Parkinson's disease, Peter must share with the quartet his illness and impending future of the group. His influence goes far beyond what he brings to the stage, since he and his recently deceased wife Miriam (Anne Sofie von Otter) raised Juliette from an early age as an orphan. And his teachings of classic music to Daniel as a student makes his departing the quartet emotionally straining and difficult for everyone.

As the option to find another cellist arises and the chance for the group to evolve as they approach their quarter-century anniversary, Robert sees this as an ideal opportunity to play switching roles as violin I and II—with hesitation from the obsessed Daniel and his nonsupporting wife Juliette.

What transcends from the melodrama between these people and the struggles they face as a group of human beings, putting aside their passion for classical music, is a portrait of love, lost and acceptance. The film plays as a modern-day fable to unleash one's passion and wonderful moments of fulfilling your dreams with realities.

A Late Quartet may be a heightened sense of melodramatic wonder, thanks to the highly emotional and super sensitive Sting Quartet No. 14 by Beethoven in the film's finale or the wonderful sounds of the Brentano String Quartet playing on behalf of the Fugue. Nonetheless, a few things are certain.

A Late Quartet is a masterclass in acting for all four masterful and meticulous actors.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Just saw this moviewhich of the cast had played their instruments before dlkbc
Unresolved, therefore unsatisfying grandscholar
poor rating from bad acting cerealcinema
Why no nominations???!!!! Felonious-Punk
I think it looks quite beautiful jokes-on-you
Why no mention of 'Opus'? mburma
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