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Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Wallace Shawn, Anne Sofie von Otter
Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust. After a classical string quartet's 25 years of success, Peter, the cellist and oldest member, decides that he must retire when he learns he has Parkinson's Disease. For the others, that announcement proves a catalyst for letting their hidden resentments come to the surface while the married members' daughter has disruptive desires of her own. All this threatens to tear the group apart even as they are famous for playing Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14, opus 131, a piece that is played non-stop no matter how life interferes.
"A Late Quartet" is a film about relationships and classical music, a quartet made up of three men and one woman have not only been playing together for as long as they can remember but they have also been friends for that long as well. Robert, his wife Juliette, Danie and Peter have seen it all together but when Peter, the oldest member of the quartet is stricken with early signs of Parkinson's Disease he decides it is time to find a replacement and for him to retire. But instead of uniting the group it slowly begins to tear them apart. All four friends are as complex as the music itself and many of their conflicts that were bubbling below the surface until now have all begun to surface and it threatens the group in every way possible.
"A Late Quartet" is about as realistic a drama as you are going to find and it's anchored by some of the best performances of the year. One thing to remember here is that even though the film is about a quartet of classical musicians the story is more about the relationships within and not so the much the music but I was fine with that because everyone in the film was terrific.
All four lead actors are amazing and to mention just one would be a crime because Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir all bring their best to the table and the supporting cast were all terrific as well. Like I already stated before, I don't think this is going to be a film for everyone, those out there who can't watch a film that doesn't have loads of special effects or explosions are not going to enjoy this film's deliberate, slow pace but if you like a good drama that deals with real human relationships then I highly recommend check this one out. Easily some of the best acting I have seen and it's a shame that it got over-looked for the award shows. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, both come with Special Features that include:
Discord and Harmony
Released by 20th Century Fox
**** Out Of *****