Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Mary F. Pols,
A Late Quartet serves as an acting showcase, particularly for Walken and Hoffman, and makes for an interesting study in artistic ego.
You don't have to be a classical fan to appreciate the film's air of inside baseball - the ease with which it navigates a hermetic world of people who understand music better than they understand themselves.
The movie doesn't resolve on a sour note, but it takes the viewer along a too-familiar set of tones.
New York Times:
It would be shortsighted to dismiss this deeply felt, musically savvy film, set in a refined cultural precinct of Manhattan, as sudsy melodrama.
New York Observer:
The movie sometimes gets stuck in its own awkward groove like a needle on a warped phonograph, but it has its moments.
Walken - and Zilberman - shows us how music can utterly transport us to another place.
Zilberman is breaking no new ground, but he gives his actors strong material and room to breathe. When the playing is strong enough, even a few notes can be as rich as a symphony.
J. R. Jones,
This lovely drama... is so attentive to the creative nuance and emotional dynamics of classical performance that I was almost disappointed when the story began to move into the various interpersonal conflicts between the players.
Although the crises are too precious, the performances are treasures, led by Christopher Walken in a surprisingly gentle, soulful key as the group's senior member.
Amanda Mae Meyncke,
...the very definition of a character driven drama, the performances humbling in their power.
Strong performances mark a mildly involving tale of four classical musicians hoping to make it to the next season.
Los Angeles Times:
Zilberman's minimalistic approach fits the idea of the film better than it fits the actual film.
For a film that relies so heavily on the lasting power of a classical master, A Late Quartet never really converts any viewers to his church.
Engaging, intelligent, but direction doesn't quite live up to a first-rate cast.
Adultery, unfulfilled ambition, envy, mother-daughter tensions, disease-all the standard and predictable conflicts are there, as in a soap opera.
Unless you're channeling the forgiving spirit of Casals, I'm afraid this one hits too many off notes to recommend.
Ultimately, while the performances are very good, the script could have stood a little more restraint.
New York Post:
Yaron Zilberman, a documentarian making his feature debut, treads a fine line between farce and drama ...
Yes, A Late Quartet is disappointing. But it's also pretty bad.
"A Late Quartet" does one of the most interesting things any film can do. It shows how skilled professionals work.
Grace notes abound in A Late Quartet, a small, shining gem of a movie that works its way into your heart with insinuating potency of music. Walken's performance is heartbreaking, and a master class in the craft of acting.
San Francisco Chronicle:
For those willing to enter this world and pay attention, "A Late Quartet" provides distinct and uncommon satisfactions.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
An auspicious feature debut for a director whose sensitivity to emotional harmonies is as rewarding as his reverence for timeless, transcendent music.
Globe and Mail:
The screenplay by Seth Grossman and Israeli-American director Yaron Zilberman is old-fashioned and melodramatic but stirring in its portrait of people struggling with individual egos to produce something nobler than themselves.
[It] may not sound like a scintillatingly good time at the movies, but actually it is.
If you're in the mood to mix highbrow trappings with some bitter arguments, infidelity and face-slapping, screenwriters Yaron Zilberman (who also directs) and Seth Grossman keep things allegro con brio throughout.
The result is a perfectly serviceable, well acted melodrama - but why so serious?
The four leads more often than not transcend the material's calculated moroseness; Ivanir is especially good as a man whose perfectionist facade masks a soul in perpetual turmoil.
The outstanding ensemble cast keeps the story - and its accompanying emotional heft - from becoming overly baroque.
A skillfully performed drama that treats the varieties of musical expression as an effective if unsubtle metaphor for a person's many possible pathways through life.
Zilberman is at his best when leaving narrative threads hanging rather than trying to tie them together.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
The movie is haut-bourgeois to the bone, but so am I: Let's hear some chamber music and have a little laugh and a cry!
A half-glass of a movie, full of superlative performances and sublime music but empty when it comes to a story rife with melodrama and trite plot conventions.