[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. A Late Quartet opens today in limited release.]
I love it when films help me to understand a new culture. Usually, I visit these new cultures through documentaries, but Yaron Zilberman‘s non-documentary feature A Late Quartet captivated me with an introduction to the world of orchestral music. More impressive, he uses a technical explanation as a gateway to the conflict between his central characters. Their instruments are thoughtful metaphors for their personalities, and we see how the pursuit of personal expression through a musician’s art can both divide and unite his or her group. The movie does hit a false note when it forces a conflict between two characters, but for the most part, the cast, the story, and the setting play together in perfect harmony.