A Late Quartet 2012

A Late Quartet

Critics Consensus

An outstanding ensemble cast lends weight and depth to A Late Quartet's melodramatic script, and the result is insightful and emotionally satisfying.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 113

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,478

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Movie Info

For 25 years, the Fugue, a string quartet, has wowed music-lovers with its skilled performances. However, as the musicians prepare to celebrate a milestone season together, cellist Peter (Christopher Walken) drops a bombshell on his comrades: he has Parkinson's disease and must soon retire. In the fallout from the shocking announcement, competing egos clash, long-simmering resentments bubble to the surface, and marital infidelity rears its ugly head.

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Critic Reviews for A Late Quartet

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (27)

Audience Reviews for A Late Quartet

  • Jul 08, 2013
    A Late Quartet manages to tackle what is a very niche subject matter, that of classical composition and quartet orchestration, seemingly appealing only to a select audience, and yet manages to widen its reach to be a truly successful drama. It does this without ever sacrificing its indie sensibilities, or dumbing down the inner-workings of the group, but rather does this with an emphasis on the characters and their dynamics. The result is a film that never ceases to be engaging, and one that feels both emotionally raw and poignant. To pull off such a feat, a superb cast is needed. A Late Quartet masters this, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as his usual brilliant self, Catherine Keener inhibiting her role perfectly, Christopher Walken having a refreshingly straight performance, and Mark Ivanir having one of the more calculated and interesting performances of the film. All of the actors have palpable chemistry with each other, which is very much needed for the film's many melodramatic moments. Their exchanges feel real, their intensity is undeniable. The film's smart script, which focuses on characterizations, allows the actors the necessary room to breathe, an especially daunting task for an ensemble cast and a shorter film. One should not go in to A Late Quartet expecting a clinic on how a Quartet is run, or the finer points that such music involves. This is simply a background to a moving story on the lives of a group of inter-connected people at a crossroads. Taken on these merits, A Late Quartet is a strong success, smartly written, executed well, and appropriately moving. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 03, 2013
    This is a pretty damn good movie that benefits from an excellent cast to overcome the melodramatic tendencies of the script. The story does sort of read like a "rock band" falling apart due to creative differences, personal issues within the quartet not relating to the creative aspects, the leader of the quartet having to leave because of an illness. I did find the struggles of the quartet compelling and actually pretty satisfying storytelling, even if the approach can, at sometimes, be melodramatic. This is where the cast comes in, they do a fantastic job of making this story resonate and rise above its limitations. Another thing is that while sometimes the characters can come across as unlikable, especially Daniel who is, tying it back to the rock band analogy, the arrogant lead singer who overvalues his contributions to the quartet, I don't think, at any point, they're not unlikable to the point you don't wish to watch the movie anymore. I think, more than anything else, the characters in this film behave as if they were real human beings and that's always a positive to me. The music, of course is pretty tremendous, and they do a good job at really making it look like these people actually learned to play this instruments. I'm sure they had to take classes, I mean why wouldn't they?, but I'm sure they were NOT as good as the movie portrays them to be. But still, the editing does make them look like an actual quartet, so good job there. I definitely really liked this movie, great cast and compelling storytelling make this movie pretty damn good. Maybe it could've been better if it didn't rely sometime on cliches, but that's hardly a complaint. If you like believable and intriguing dramas, then this is the movie for you.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 27, 2013
    A quartet's leader falls ill as marital strife hits two other members. Essentially an acting master class, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Christopher Walken all turn in remarkable performances that should be the model for any young actor. Walken, especially, in his later years continues to show a sensitive, emotional side. However, the film is poorly paced. Particularly, after a comic scene in which the stoic, severe Daniel is forced to gather his clothes and slip out the fire escape, we get another tear-ridden scene filled with pop psychology and emotional effusions. What is more, the character look like they've been crying or are about to cry is almost every scene. Overall, though I like the work by the actors, I think a skilled director could have turned this into a truly fine film.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 22, 2013
    Maybe I needed to be a classical music fan in order to enjoy this film. Wonderful actors. Nicely done..but I found the story slow, tedious, and rather pointless.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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