Yesterday afternoon, HOBB and I joined half of the retirees of the Upper West Side at the 5:30 showing of A Late Quartet at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema. Having just submitted the manuscript for his forthcoming book on the quest to master the cello in middle age, HOBB had high hopes for the film, anticipating that he would be able to relate to its characters -- aging musicians in a Manhattan string quartet.
When he fell asleep a mere ten minutes into the film, I should have realized how severely his expectations had been dashed. Having jostled his arm to wake him up, I later regretted my decision for he proceeded to spend the duration of the film vacillating between deep boredom and disgust for the characters' immorality and self-absorption.
As for me, I was simply astonished at the film's lack of authenticity, its wooden dialogue and the predictability of the plot. I also found A Late Quartet shockingly shallow, with pretensions of high culture. It was frankly depressing to watch such fine actors inhabit roles that were two-dimensional, at best.
My favorite movie moment came early on, when a bag of Zabar's coffee is visible on the counter of Philip Seymour Hoffman's character's kitchen. My least favorite moment was when the twenty-something daughter of Hoffman and Catherine Keener -- who is having sex with her mother's former lover -- breaks into gales of giggles when her mother shows up at her place.
In what realm is the prospect of your mother finding you in bed with a guy she also screwed an occasion for hilarity? Also, in what realm would you actually be interested in having sex with your mother's ex, who, incidentally, had watched you grow up?
Still, it was fun to grab a movie with the early bird special crew. And it is always fun to find fellowship with your spouse over a film that you mutually hate.
Notes on my outfit: In this picture, I am sitting on our dining room table, wearing a pair of tasseled black knee socks from H&M that I bought five years ago, a Vivienne Tam black dress with a swingy skirt, bought at Loehmann's, a burgundy scarf from Zara's in Venice, given to me by Big Babe, a black, faux leather motorcycle jacket from Bagatelle, also purchased at Loehmann's, and black Aletta ankle boots from Dr. Marten.