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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strings attached
The "Fugue" String Quartet have played together for a quarter of a century, so it is a shock when the founder member, cellist Peter, announces that he has early-stage Parkinson's disease so will need to retire. Reacting with a mixture of denial and doubts as to whether they can continue without him, or wish to do so, the bombshell releases negative forces in the rest of...
Published 15 months ago by Antenna

versus
11 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sporadically well played, sometimes out of tune
This quite likeable if hardly original film, about the fiddling and feuding of the fictitious Fugue Quartet, is something of a curate`s egg, never quite sure of its mood from one scene to another, with some fine playing one minute, then a piece of badly directed dissonance the next.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (second violin) is superb as usual, and is the one constant in...
Published 15 months ago by GlynLuke


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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strings attached, 18 April 2013
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
The "Fugue" String Quartet have played together for a quarter of a century, so it is a shock when the founder member, cellist Peter, announces that he has early-stage Parkinson's disease so will need to retire. Reacting with a mixture of denial and doubts as to whether they can continue without him, or wish to do so, the bombshell releases negative forces in the rest of the group - long-suppressed rivalry, jealousies and resentment surface abruptly.

With beautiful filming of Central Park in the snow and the interior of spacious old brownstone apartments, the main characters all put in convincing and moving performances, not least in their ability to appear to play string instruments, although I have no idea how a skilled musician would view this. The scenes are based on the rehearsal of Beethoven's last String Quartet, Opus 131, a fitting background to the theme of the film. It seems to convey very convincingly the joys and sacrifices of life in a close-knit quartet in which one must sink one's individuality to achieve the benefits of collaboration and the chance to perform far more, at a more satisfying level, than might be the case as a soloist - a point I had not considered.

Although it may appeal mainly to older viewers who are close to experiencing the effects of ageing and intimations of mortality themselves, there is also a good deal of humour with some tense moments, as normally highly disciplined musicians act out of character and indulge themselves with potentially disastrous consequences.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligence At Last, 3 Aug 2013
By 
Zelazek (Perth, Perthshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
A high quality film with high quality actors about high quality music. I found this intelligent film riveting. I was interested in all the characters. Watching the film was itself almost like listening to a piece of music: A new theme is introduced in a disturbing minor chord which has all sorts of repercussions on long-established quiet and settled motifs.

All the actors are great. Walken is superb and utterly believable in his role. And Philip Seymour Hoffman - never has the pain of playing second fiddle been so wonderfully expressed. This man in my view is the greatest film actor in the world at the moment.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding performance by.., 6 April 2013
By 
Wil Andersen (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
...Christopher Walken absolutely holds this film together. It is the core of the film and is quite wonderful. I have always liked him as an actor but this is exceptional - particularly since on the surface he does so little. Masterly acting.

I found the whole film both enjoyable and very moving - yes, a few quibbles here and there (some of the emotional drama was a bit over the top) but minor. Only Imogen Poots was - for me - a little off centre given the role she ended up playing - but the rest of the cast is very, very well realised.

The surprise to me was Mark Ivanir who I didn't know - although the face was familiar. He performs with such intensity that it burns off the screen. He has a long record but I simply have missed most of his performances.

And the setting is great. Manhattan in winter - not the usual spring and summer scenes. Here is cold and snowy. Central Park has never looked better. Clever contrasting of the warm, carefully lit interiors with the snowy exteriors. And many scenes are set in New York institutions like the Frick, Time Warner Centre, The Metropolitan Museum and I thought it was the East Village but my wife thought it was the West. Who cares. It was lovely to be reminded of it.

I really enjoyed it. The audience was spellbound and everyone sat through the lengthy end credit sequence without moving listening to the...MUSIC. And there was applause at the end - which simply doesn't often happen in our Oxford cinema full of OAPs like me. And there was discreet use of handkerchiefs as well. Go see it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous film for grown-ups, 24 Sep 2013
By 
SH_ (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Brilliant script, beautiful music, superb acting. Time just evaporated for me watching this film, which I would rate the best I have seen since Lost in Translation. It's definitely for people with a brain, and a heart... not for action and sfx fans who like escapist pap. Not a moment passes without some profoundly problematic emotional consequence of life itself being expressed, often silently, just by tiny facial expressions and gestures... that's how brilliant the acting is.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fortunately not all string quartets have these emotional tensions, 7 Aug 2013
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This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
As a life long chamber musician this was insightful and great fun. Philip Seymour Hoffman's acting lifts it to tremendous levels. Imogen Poots is the other real plus factor. The faking is not excruciating - but not great. Christopher Walken is the least adept. For outstanding faking, look at Melanie Laurent in The Concert - great film.

There are some great apercus about the art of string quartet playing. The comments on what the various instruments bring to the ensemble is insightful. The Brentano's interpretation of Op 131 deserve longer illustration. Very enjoyable.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable, 10 April 2013
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
A Late Quartet is a highly civilised film, one that charts the inner lives of four musicians in a somewhat telescopic but basically convincing way. It unfolds all the tensions and dramas that may well exist between people of passionate temperament even if these things do not necessarily come to the surface as much as here, or so much at the same time. It also convinces you that they really are musicians, and uses Beethoven's Quartet op. 131 in a way that is a summation of their aspirations and also plays up certain aspects of the plot towards the end in a way that is cohesive and ambiguous. In fact the ending is beautifully poised ... It also suggests very well the psychological undercurrents that work in a particular way in the music as well, and give an ensemble its unique quality. We hear this in performances in real life, but don't generally get to see the private face of these things as we do here. The actors are all excellent, Philip Seymour Hoffman being quite moving and offset very well by the other two smaller instruments that box him in on either side. In personal terms he goes through a kind of crisis with both of them ... Catherine Keener makes a beautiful and enigmatic viola-player, all in half-tones as befits the general tenor of the film. (She also recalls the fact that the viola-player of the Takacs Quartet - possibly the finest in the world - is also a woman in an otherwise male ensemble, who also sits on the outside right of the group.) The central figure in a way is cellist Christopher Walken, who makes a deep impression just sitting listening to a recording of his late wife singing, or telling a group of students about his meetings with Pablo Casals; these moments have something magical. The first violinist (Mark Ivanir) is well contrasted to Seymour Hoffman both physically, in playing style and in temperament. The film announces its refined tone straight off with a quotation from T.S.Eliot, and its visual language is likewise singular in its evocation of a wintry Central Park and different cultural spaces in New York, setting these against dimly lit interiors that have a certain cushioned softness. By the end I felt moved and uplifted by this film. Just occasionally I felt it strain a little to contain one or two more melodramatic moments, but I should certainly want to see it again, and in its taking on of an un-modish subject - classical music is hardly up there with gangster activities in the celluloid world - it deserves the widest possible audience. In fact it is surely the best film on the subject since the French film Un Coeur En Hiver, where the music is similarly used to try to get at our deepest strivings and sense of what life is.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, enchanting and serious, 22 Sep 2013
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This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Very well made,superbly acted at good,engaging pace that gave time to assimilate what was being conveyed. Wonderfull music, complex human relationships exposed in a non-judgemental way that leave a lot of room for own reflection.
An excellent movie all round
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinemagoers are missing out., 26 Oct 2013
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This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
I was disappointed on inquiry to be told that my local cinema would not be showing A Late Quartet due to distributor problems. The film had received very good reviews in the press and it sounded like my kind of film. One critic said it was a change to find a 'film for grown ups' and I would say that remark summed it up completely. The story revolves around the leader of the quartet who is diagnosed with parkinsons disease. He realises that his playing days are over and that a replacement must be found. There is a love triangle thread interwoven and it is important for the viewer to get all the family relationships within the quartet sorted out in his/her mind as soon as possible. Happily with a DVD it is always possible to recap.

There is some music for string quartets in the film but the passages are not overlong so if you don't care for classical music it will not interfere with your enjoyment of the film. I found one of the interesting parts of this film to be the explanation of the dynamics of the quartet. Being totally ignorant of how they work, I learned quite a bit along the way about the role of the 1st and 2nd violin. I never did find a cinema that was showing the film but the DVD compensates very well. Just don't expect car chases, gratuitous violence or much in the way of sex.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Adult Movie, 24 Oct 2013
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This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
No, I don't mean that sort. I mean, one that actually suggests you might have more than a dozen brain cells. Beautifully paced, well-written and fantastically acted. Would be unfair to single anyone out. Excellent ensemble piece and goes into my all time top twenty five.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Late Quartet: Intelligent and moving, 1 Oct 2013
By 
Malc (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
The storyline is good and the acting is superlative. An intriguing movie that subtly touches on the inevitable problem of facing up to ageing.
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A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012]
A Late Quartet [DVD] [2012] by Yaron Zilberman (DVD - 2013)
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