Fortunately, however, I’m skeptical that outside of liberal hipsters many will embrace “Amour.” Chances are it will suffer the same fate as the similarly twisted “Blue Valentine” (2010), which critics showered with praise for its depiction of an ostensibly realistic marriage, but which in reality offered a drawn-out portrayal of people who turned from thoroughly loving to abjectly hating each other. I called bull on that critical consensus, and the movie failed to break the $10 million mark at the box office, while scores of happier films about family life continue to resonate with the public on a much wider scale.
There’s no better way to cast your vote in the marketplace of ideas than by turning out this weekend for “Quartet” — a generous portrait of the elderly as still loving, occasionally lusty, artistically passionate and fully alive — as it expands into wider release. “Quartet” is, on one level, reminiscent of “The Notebook” (2004), a critically derided testament to the power of a love undimmed by the years, which has taken on almost iconic status with average filmgoers.
Like that sleeper hit, the delightful “Quartet” is a picture of the true meaning of love, and an example of art that uplifts viewers’ spirits rather than leaving them alone in darkness.
By turning out for “Quartet” while shunning “Amour,” moviegoers can send Hollywood a powerful message this weekend: There’s one market demographic whose numbers dwarf the rest — the demo comprising all those who expect to grow old one day.
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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