Movie review: The Late Quartet (2012)

Life is messy. Good things come to an end. Pain is received. Pain is imposed. Life continues, in ways we may not have wanted.

It was refreshing to see a movie that didn’t tidy up all loose ends by the end of the movie. Where things were not resolved. Questions left unanswered. The next steps in the lives of the characters unknown.

Bad choices were made. Relationships made and broken. Truths spoken. Through it all is Peter, Christopher Walken’s character, who is the glue that keeps the others together in their musical ensemble. Despite the tragedy in his life, he orchestrates the continued existence of the quartet without his presence. Although we may not know what will happen next in the lives of the other quartet members, we can feel confident that Peter helped ease his departure from and the introduction of his replacement to the quartet.

It was a powerful movie, dealing with powerful interrelationship issues. Issues that had been simmering for years, if not decades. Issues in their professional and personal lives.

One of the strongest lines spoken: “Do you really love me or am I just convenient?” After decades of marriage, Robert, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, asks his wife, another member of the quartet, played by Catherine Keener. A question potentially posed by anyone after years of marriage, where the marriage, the relationship becomes stale. If there was love, is there still? Or is the marriage, the other person, merely a habit?

Strangely, even with the messiness of the relationships, the movie ended on an upbeat note. Without following the typical Hollywood de rigueur plot where everything is resolved, the movie brings hope that out of the struggles, fights, and hurts that cannot be undone, the quartet will be OK. Life will be OK. Life will go on. And still be messy. Life will go on. Despite being messy.

 

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