An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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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The eldest member of a renowned string quartet living in New York is diagnosed with Parkinson's. He informs the other members of his group of this predicament, also announcing that the first concert of their new season will officially be his last. The other three members then proceed to care about nothing but themselves, forcing excessive, melodramatic problems into their lives all through their own doing while behaving like insufferable, spoiled children for an entire movie. If that sounds like a fond experience for you, then by all means check out Yaron Zilberman's dramatic debut A Late Quartet. Sadly for me, it doesn't provide anything really worth the viewing and all I was able to admire from it were some great actors giving superb performances in a film well beneath their talent level.
Taking on the roles of the quartet are Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir and every one of them gives a noteworthy portrayal in spite of the labored writing and frustrating characters they are saddled with. Hoffman is even better here than he was earlier this year in The Master, which is saying a lot, as an incredibly insecure man being hit over and over again with signs of his own failures. Keener gives her best performance in years as a wife and mother trying to hold together some semblance of community while everyone around her falls apart in their own selfish desires.
Topping off a remarkable year for himself, Christopher Walken delivers yet another standout performance in a sea of great actors, as the diagnosed. Finally, Ivanir takes full advantage of the opportunity to have a more developed role for once (even if it's developed very poorly), as he's spent most of his career so far playing some variation of "Generic Russian #2", mostly in television shows with the occasional poor movie slotted in. Also joining this quartet of actors is the always lovely Imogen Poots, playing the daughter of Hoffman and Keener's characters, nailing her American accent while adding another impressive performance to a career that has shown nothing but great potential to this point so far.
It's really unfortunate that none of these performances are able to save the film from the horrid lack of anything resembling decency in the script, co-written by Zilberman and Seth Grossman. It all starts out well enough, with Zilberman appropriately registering the traditional New York independent movie atmosphere that we've seen time and time again, but as things get heavier it all begins to take a sharp descent towards one gratingly melodramatic explosion after another. After a while, A Late Quartet ends up just being a bunch of these privileged New York narcissists acting like complete pricks towards one another, while seemingly not even bothering to care about the fact that one of their closest friends is going through a life-changing diagnosis.
They create all of these problems for themselves, while the one person who doesn't is the one that we don't get to spend nearly enough time with. It certainly doesn't help that after all of the physical and verbal abuse, emotional betrayals and shattered friendships we end up getting this painfully sappy pleasant ending that's supposed to give us some sense of a neat resolution for these characters that I never cared about and certainly didn't want to see ending up happy. It's hard to care about people when you aren't given a single reason to sympathize or want to spend any time with any of them.
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