A Late Quartet 

Backstage drama in the classical world.

After a sneak-preview premiere at this month's Indie Memphis Film Festival, the high-minded chamber-music drama A Late Quartet opens this week for a full local run. Christopher Walken, dialing it back significantly from his recent performance norm, is Peter, cellist and leader of the Fugue Quartet, a classical music supergroup of sorts that also includes temperamental first violinist Daniel (Mark Ivanir), resentful second violinist Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Robert's violist wife, Juliette (Catherine Keener), who serves as an increasingly fed-up den mother for the group.

Directed and co-written by first-time feature filmmaker Yaron Zilberman, A Late Quartet opens with the group practicing the titular Beethoven piece in preparation for the opening of their new season, but complications ensue, including the onset of Parkinson's for Peter, a dalliance between Daniel and Robert and Juliette's violinist daughter Alexandra (Imogen Poots), marital issues, and professional jealousies.

The film juxtaposes the working interactions of the quartet with their intertwined private lives, until the two worlds collide messily. The former — a process-oriented look inside the classical music world — is more compelling than the more familiar and sometimes contrived latter material. As a novice at best with the classical world, I was interested in all the backstage elements of a world that isn't often explored on screen, from the disagreements over approaches to material to competition over roles within the group. A Late Quartet suggests an overlap between the interdependence of a working quartet and that of a quartet of friends and lovers, but the balance of interest is uneven. Keeping the film afloat even as it veers into received melodramas is the acting — especially, Hoffman and Keener — which is sharp throughout.

Genteel but usually engaging, A Late Quartet is nothing special, but it could well find an audience as cinematic counter-programming directed at older, more upscale film-goers.

A Late Quartet
Opening Friday, November 16th
Ridgeway Four

Speaking of...

A Late Quartet
Rated R · 105 min. · 2012
Official Site: www.alatequartet.com
Director: Yaron Zilberman
Writer: Seth Grossman and Yaron Zilberman
Producer: Vanessa Coifman, David Faigenblum, Emanuel Michael, Tamar Sela and Mandy Tagger
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Imogen Poots, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Wallace Shawn, Mark Ivanir, Madhur Jaffrey, Liraz Charhi, Marty Krzywonos and Megan McQuillan

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for A Late Quartet

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Lady Bird

      Greta Gerwig directs Saoirse Ronan in the dazzling coming of age comedy
    • Thor: Ragnarok

      Taika Waititi takes The God of Thunder in a comedic direction

Blogs

Hungry Memphis

South Main Market grand opening Dec. 2

From My Seat

Frank's Memphis Sports Thanksgiving

Hungry Memphis

Sunrise opening Nov. 27

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Jadewick

Hungry Memphis

LBOE's Champion Burger

Tiger Blue

#18 Tigers 66, SMU 45

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Indie Memphis' Greatest Hits 5: Lights, Movement, And The Zoo

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Herrington

  • Last Words

    In "Enough Said," James Gandolfini makes his last lead film role his best.
    • Sep 26, 2013
  • Masters of Sound

    New albums from two of Memphis’ most distinctive stylists.
    • Sep 19, 2013
  • Hayes Carll at the Hi-Tone

    • Sep 19, 2013
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Eye In The Sky

    Remote controlled warfare picture misses the mark
    • Apr 7, 2016
  • The Lost City of Z

    A mesmerizing story of obsession in the Amazon jungle
    • May 1, 2017
  • Knight Of Cups

    Adrift in images with Terrance Malick
    • Apr 12, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation