John Bowles is a respected tv presenter, theatre and concert performer.

A Late Quartet – Only for the seniors?

A Late Quartet

Memebers of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.”


I haven’t had much of an opportunity to see a film in the last couple of weeks and so I was looking forward to a worthwhile visit to the cinema.  I chose A Late Quartet, despite the rather condescending review I saw on the BBC, which concluded that movies like this do well because of the “grey pound”.  If A Late Quartet does do well I’d like to think it’s because of it’s flawless performances, good script and humanity.

I enjoy films like A Late Quartet for their ability to illuminate, what appear to be everyday moments, and bring them into sharp focus, stretched out on a big screen for us to chew over for a few hours.  In this case these moments inhabit the lives of a internationally successful string quartet, who live in New York, and have worked together their entire careers.  Their lives are intertwined professionally and personally.  Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Mark Ivanir are a powerhouse ensemble cast, directed by first-time feature director Yaron Zilberman.

This is one of those films where you wonder if the cast has ad-libbed a lot of the dialogue, simply because it is so honest, and seems so real; which is not meant to take anything away from Seth Grossman, who wrote this fine script with Mr Zilberman.

The cast manage to steer clear of cliche and an overload of sentiment to deliver a film that engaged me throughout.  It’s more like a masterclass in acting, led by Christopher Walken, a cellist who’s wife has recently died, and who now finds himself in the early stages of Parkinsons disease.  What a face.  Those eyes tell us everything that this character is trying to process.  His performance holds this film together while appearing to lack the same ability in his character’s life.

I loved every bit of this movie and even the miming of the instruments was handled well.  As I looked around the cinema I was relieved to see that I was not the only person who still possessed natural hair colour.  Perhaps there is a market for good scripts, beautifully acted, that reaches beyond the silver pound?  Let’s hope so!

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2013 by in Film and tagged , , .
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