A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Late Quartet examines the inner workings of a world-famous string quartet that's thrown into disarray when one of the musicians is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Long-buried rivalries -- some petty, others more significant -- are revealed as the three remaining players try to come to grips with their new reality, and not everyone behaves like a mature adult. Expect some bitter arguments, occasional swearing (including "s--t"), and a brief fistfight, as well as a few sex scenes (including one with a nude woman moving up and down over a man) and several people drinking wine and other beverages in social situations.
What's the story?
Celebrating 25 years of playing together, the world-famous Fugue Quartet is thrown into disarray when Peter (Christopher Walken), the cellist, is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Not only does this effectively end his musical career, but it also upends the group's stable working relationship and threatens their personal relationships. Soon, Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is revealing long-unspoken frustrations with his role as second violin, as well as issues in his marriage to the viola player (Catherine Keener). And Daniel (Mark Ivanir), the lead violinist, takes up with a much younger woman, a pairing that may tear the quartet apart.
Is it any good?
Classical musicians seem so genteel, channeling their passions into their music; A LATE QUARTET does an admirable job of unmasking this myth. It expertly splices the eponymous group's failings and frailties, which emerge when their leader announces the possibility that he might retire.
The entire cast is formidable, and they play off each other beautifully. (We won't discuss their playing, however, which is barely passable to anyone familiar with quartets and string instruments.) Some of the plot points are ludicrous (a certain player's romance with a younger woman), and others, too obvious (an infidelity). But many musicians -- and actors -- might agree that with a cast this talented, these sins are forgivable. And the music? Perfection.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the characters. Are they realistic? Are they relatable? Do you think they're intended to be role models?
What choices do the characters make? What have they given up? What is the movie saying about these decisions?
Some musicians who've seen the movie say they find it distracting to see non-musicians "play" their instruments. Do you think it's important for a movie about a specific talent to portray that talent accurately?
For kids who love music
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