A Late Quartet (2012) | Movie Review

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Release date: November 2, 2012 (limited)
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min. 
MPAA rating: PG-13

I knew I was going to love this movie from the moment I saw the preview for the first time. Aside from the fact that classical music is a big part of my life, there is no way a movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken could be anything but great. I was right - I loved it! It really makes me sad that films such as this one play in limited release, while audiences are exposed to mediocre work that can't be saved any amount of CGI or 3D effects. A Late Quartet is a perfectly executed intelligent drama that can resonate with a lot of people on a personal level. I was concerned the topic might be tough to relate to for people who are not performers, but as a friend who was with me confirmed, it was not the case - the film spoke to her just as much as it did to me.

The story revolves around members of a renowned string quartet, their lives shaken by health challenges, ego struggles and personal relationships. Christopher Walken's opening monologue about Beethoven’s Opus 131 sets the stage (no pun intended) for the rest of the film: he explains that the piece is meant to be played without pause and throughout its duration the instruments go out of tune one by one, each in a different way. He asks whether the performers should stop or continue struggling though the piece, adjusting to each other until the very end. Sounds like art imitating life? That is exactly what A Late Quartet is all about: shortly we see the members slowly drift apart, each for their own reason, each reaching a breaking point. Will they pull through together or go their separate ways? The film is a great depiction of how complicated and twisted life can get, how little (or how much) it takes to feel you can't continue the way you have been before.

As expected, the acting was fantastic. Both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken are, of course, great. It was so good to finally see Walken take on a serious dramatic role! I was also impressed with Mark Ivanir and Imogen Poots - I'm not very familiar with their previous work, but after seeing them in A Late Quartet I will definitely keep an eye out for them. Between the wonderful performances, the moving story, direction and cinematography this movie was without question a five out of five for me and one of the best ones I've seen this year.

I don't have much else to say because I enjoyed A Late Quartet so much from start to finish. I really think everyone should see this film. I am so glad I got a chance to watch it and I hope it gets some well deserved attention during the awards season.