A Late Quartet
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The four members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust. Set in iconic New York City, this is the story of four musicians, bound together by their passion for music and long years of working together. But when their patriarch Peter is diagnosed with a terminal illness, the repercussions hit the group deeper than they could imagine. First and second violinists Robert and Daniel row over first chair, Robert and violist Juliette's marriage hits the rocks when he has an affair, and their headstrong daughter embarks on her own explosive affair - with Daniel. As their 25th anniversary performance looms, the musicians must either find a way to overcome their troubles, and preserve their legacy - or part ways forever.
By focusing on the dynamics of a string quartet, writer-director Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet ends up playing like a family portrait, with Christopher Walken's Peter as the father figure. Older than his partners by three decades, he's been working with them for 25 years, but their future comes into question when he receives a devastating diagnosis. While his motor skills remain intact, Peter decides to play one more concert before bowing out (in flashbacks, opera singer Anne Sofie von Otter plays his late wife). As they prepare for their final season, he continues to teach a class that includes Alexandra (Imogen Poots), the resentful daughter of Juliette (Catherine Keener) and Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman), whose relationship has been unraveling for some time. Robert, who plays second violin, explains the position to his attractive running partner: "I pull it all together, that's my part," but he would prefer first chair. Alex also takes private lessons from Daniel (Mark Ivanir), whose brusque style takes her aback, but she warms up to him to the extent that the professional becomes personal, though their affair seems designed more to hurt her parents than to satisfy her own desires (Jules once had a thing for Daniel). Except for Peter, a role Walken handles with grace, they come across as childish and petulant, which may describe some career musicians, but it's also off-putting. With a little help from Beethoven's Opus 131, however, everyone grows up by the end of Zilberman's well-acted, if uneven film. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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The story was about a quartet who wants to play in their 25th Anniversary .The cellist Peter played by Christopher Walker is diagnosed with Parkinson’s and decided to play for the last time, at that moment the group falls into a crisis for different reasons . Robert (Phillip Symour Hoffman) wants to share firs violin with Daniel (Mark Ivanir) who has an affair with Robert’s daughter .Robert himself married with Juliette (Catherine Keener),the viola player has a one night stand with a flamenco dancer, and Piter is fighting with the diseased to be able to play in the quartet.
The movie also reflects the differences between a soloist who plays with different orchestras and quartet musicians who has to perform with the same colleagues and develop complete harmony.
When the moment of the last quartet arrives all members get together to play leaving behind all the misunderstanding and problems. At one point of the performance Peter wasn’t able to finish and stops to say good by to the public and another cellist takes over to finish the piece with the rest of the group and with the music they reunite to start a new beginning.
It is a very beautiful movie, where the music is playing an important role in the story
For those who appreciate mature drama and also have a close relationship to the Opus 131 this work should give great pleasure.
The performance by the Brentano Quartet (whose recording of the Opus 131 I later obtained) is, to my feeling, as good as any of the other 4 performances of that work I have; actually, better in its evocation of the emotional content of the piece.
In a word: yes.
'A Late Quartet' is storytelling at its finest. All the "drama" unfolds from our characters. It is them and their actions that propel us forward. It also features Christopher Walken at his best. I don't recall a performance like this from him in years. With Catherine Keener and Philip Seymour Hoffman, you know what you are getting. And Mark Ivanir is not simply the necessary fourth piece. All four are the glue that keeps the film together, and everyone's performance is directly responsible for how well the story comes across to us.
Yaron Zilberman (director/writer) is a filmmaker that has my attention going forward. A wonderful film.
I am hooked on the movie, I have the Bluray, and the soundtrack.
I had purchased the DVD, but the sound was out of sync with the video, as was the DVD I initially rented. So, there is a bad batch of DVDs out there for sale. I hope Sony corrects this problem.
Good movie with or without the cowbell.