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If was a director, I would be sure to look at such films as "Kafka", "Quiz Show", and "Immortal Beloved"(and many many others) and hope that my film would have as much style and taste as these films, particularly "Immortal Beloved." From the first time I saw it, "Immortal Beloved" became one of my all-time favorite movies. For one thing, I love the cast. Director Bernard Rose has filled his movie with such top-notch European actors as Johanna Ter Steege, Valeria Golino, Marco Hofschnieder, Miriam Margoyles, Isabella Rossellini, and particularly in the choosing of his two leads--Jeroen Krabbe(my favorite actor) and Gary Oldman. I have seen and enjoyed all of these actors in one or more other project, and to have them ALL together is just wonderful. Plus the director genius, Bernard Rose, also wrote a great script:the flashback sequences give us a great look upon Beethoven, and they very carefully fit around the search that Beethoven's secretary embarks upon to find the mysterious woman, the "Immortal Beloved", whom Beethoven left his entire estate and music to in a letter. I like how he narrows he is able to narrow his search to just three women, after finding a nearly illegible signature the woman left behind at a hotel("is that a G or a J?" Schindler wonders. "Looks like an A to me," he is told by the hotel worker). I like being able to learn the impact Beethoven left upon all three, and the accounts of Schindler and his nephew provide some great insite as well. I love the chemistry between all cast members, particularly Oldman and Krabbe and Krabbe and Rossellinni. Well, I loved absolutely everything about this movie. I can only hope that if I ever made a movie, it would turn out to be as well-written, superbly acted, and as beautifully made as "Immortal Beloved."
Despite many critics' comments to the contrary, this movie
exceptionally beautiful. Panned for not being "accurate" to
Beethoven's Life (whatever happened to Poetic License?", the
music, the cinematography, and the PERFORMANCES in this
are MAGNIFICENT. Speaking of "magnificent", there IS Gary
man - who transcends just about anything. The man is a
his performance reflects it, and he is absolutely beautiful
Some people talk about the loveliness of the leading ladies
this movie, but with Mr. Oldman on screen, it is very difficult
to look at anything else. He is simply electrifying, as he
in most of his movies. Please give this wonderful film
chance - and forget about the critics who didn't appreciate
Gary Oldman should've received an Oscar, but what else is
Yes, I know of the historical problems with the movie. Also, many have rightly objected to the distillation of the master to his romances. Truly, his Spirit, while passionate, was so much more than this. Many of you may stay away from this movie reading some of the, admittedly, apposite objections. Do not deprive yourself, Oldham nails him so well. His life is in there amongst the search for the Immortal Beloved. You see his idealization of Napoleon with his disillusionment and tearing off of the dedication sheet of his third symphony Eroica. His open contempt and disdain for hereditary nobility, and the saddest part of his life: his tragic tutelage of his nephew Karl. Rossellini does well in her part but everything and everyone is background here to Oldman's Beethoven. The main focus of critical attack, I must admit, I agree with. Whether or not he had this earlier relationship with his brother Kasper's wife, Johanna, is like asking me whether Eintein liked spaghetti, forgive me, who cares? The man's music is one of the greatest treasures of the human race. From the first note of a piece, the musical ear can hear his powerful Spirit. Play the first few notes of his Emperor piano concerto number five; tell me if that isn't Ludwig Van Beethoven? For those of you who have run, at high speed, from this movie because it was rightly marketed as a romance; you will miss the best rendition of Beethoven and his tormented soul.
The tutelage of Karl will make sense to you when you understand how cruelly he was contrasted, as a boy, with Mozart the boy prodigy. The movies addresses this also. He is ghastly to everyone from his servants to his long suffering assistant Anton. The movie is full of his music, I know, detractors, the focus upon the romances bored me also. Yet, Oldman's delineation nails the tempestuous Soul that composed the most beautiful music the ear has ever heard. I, like other philosophers, hold that music is emotion in mathematical form. Within the romances, his loss of hearing and estrangement from all others is well shown. The movie's portrayal of Beethoven is not an idealized one; his cruelty to others is not hidden from view. The core of the movie, for me, was never whom the Immortal Beloved was but the man himself. Oldman has always been such a gifted actor; you will hear his music differently after viewing this. The movie follows the tracking down of a famous love letter which just sent musical people ballistic for its prosaic reductionism of a musical legend. It would be commensurate with reducing Stephen Hawking to a letter he wrote some woman in college.
Ergo, I understand the spleen vented upon this movie but, truly, until a better movie about Beethoven is made, like Amadeus for Mozart, this is what we are stuck with. Oldman's delineation rivals Scott's of Patton. It is so convincing that you will have to remind yourself that this is an actor playing Beethoven. I love when Golino asks him, in a sitting room, if that is Beethoven's music playing. He unleashes a stream of invective about the butcher's son pounding out his notes like a brute. There are scenes of great visual beauty such as: when the Ode To Joy is playing and he runs from his abusive father out into the woods he loved so much. He reaches a star-filled pond where he is one, existentially, with the entire universe free of his earthly pain. The reflection of him in the starry pool is the quintessence of the majesty of the movie. I took two stars off in agreement with the criticism that romances are not the proper way to do the biography of a genius. His life was so much larger than this. Germany's greatest gift to the world, followed by Kant and Nietzsche, his music united all people, of every race, when they join within the unity of his harmony.
I will not lie to you, do I wish it had been a pure biography like Amadeus? Yes. Does Oldman allow us, who are temporally bound, to see him as he was? Yes. Oldman's portrayal will stay with you apart from whether the romance aspect blows your skirt up or not. One of God's greatest gifts to man was Ludwig Van Beethoven whose music's harmony is a hoped for collective dream for the entire human race. A Flawed, But Good Movie. Q.E.D.
I can't believe I missed this gem at the movies, Oldman is just brilliant, his sheer charisma and presence in some scenes take the attention immediately and unfairly from others without him uttering a word first. The only fault I could find with this beautifully directed movie, was not enough of Beethovens music, the only time we really get to hear it fully is the wonderful scene at the end with his ninth symphony. The scene as well of a young Beethoven fleeing from his drunken father, and then floating in the pool of stars as the choral part of the symphony erupts, bought me to tears and will remain with me forever. The movie is incredible and the Academy awards should collectively hang their heads in shame for being so dull not to see this movie as worthy of even being nominated due to its silly rules, or for never recognising Oldman then or since for the wonderful and great English actor that he truly is.
Not at all convinced. Why? Because this movie has numerous historical
inaccuracies aka no chronological order: Ludwig van Beethoven's (17
December 1770 26 March 1827) total deafness occurs far too early, LvB
is conducting personally works he actually never did, composing works
in the wrong time order, etc. In addition to that, the movie takes too
many liberties, to my taste, about the biographical facts, and to imply
that that famous love-letter, written by LvB to his 'Immortal Beloved',
would be ultimately his sister-in-law is just utterly preposterous.
That letter was written and could have been addressed to several very
well known ladies, we meet some of them during the movie, nevertheless
no absolute certainty was proved until today. But it's most certainly
not his sister-in-law, with whom he had so many conflicts and legal
battles over years. The idea that LvB composed the 9th for his sister-
in-law as a-forgive-me-for-making-your-life-a-hell is the director's
personal fabrication and so is the feeble ending.
Also, there is much more to LvB than his 5th, 9th and the Pathetique and it's a shame that even these were cut into bits and pieces and added here and there without any musicality to the frames, but rather as background music.
There is short scene when a white pianist is accompanied by a black violinist playing the Kreutzer Sonata; it did ring a bell but I had to look it up. The 'mulatto' violinist was supposed to be George Bridgetower (11 October 177829 February 1860) an Afro-Polish-born virtuoso who had a quite tempestuous professional relationship with LvB. Such a shame that this was not more elaborately depicted in the movie. That could have been a great instructive scene.
LvB is quite distorted here and even the great actor Gary Oldman can't save his dignity nor the voluptuous and expensive production. Actually Mr Oldman is over the top but I blame it on the pathetic direction.
Watchable for the young, but not very instructive.
p.s. Hearing the gorgeous Isabella Rossellini speak a couple of sentences in Hungarian made me smile :-)
Talk about an overblown character and story! Man, if someone would ONLY
write a literate, PG-rated script about the life of one of the most
amazing composers of all time.....I'd love to see it.
Instead, the film world has to give us a profane, screaming, constantly ranting and raving character (the title one, played by wild man Gary Oldman). Plus, they have to add in some nude women and sex scenes. With the latter, children can't see and learn about the amazing Beethoven. (Since the '80s, most kids still think Beethoven is a big dog.)
I was hoping for a lot better than was delivered in here. Who would watch this abrasively- loud and obnoxious character more than once, anyway? Less shouting and more of the great music would have been appreciated.
People get tied up on whether or not this film portrays the life of
Beethoven accurately; this misses the point of the film entirely. This
is not so much a film about Beethoven, so much as the way in which he
effected those around him, and inspired a devotion among his followers
which lives to this day. If you consider a movie like, for instance,
'Shakespeare in Love'--- it's quite apparent to anyone who knows
anything about Shakespeare that the film has only the faintest
correlation to Shakespeare, which didn't seem to get in the way of
people awarding THAT movie, and lauding praise on it, because
Shakespeare was played as a hopeless romantic that everyone WANTS to
believe in. While Immortal Beloved may share a similarity to S.I.L in
it's, shall we say, creative interpretations, Immortal Beloved is a far
superior film because it shows Beethoven in all aspects of his
humanity. There's Beethoven as a Romantic rock star, there's the tender
friend, the arrogant drunken bastard, the possessive misogynist, the
pathetic misanthrope, all of it. Gary Oldman's role is superb. It is
difficult to imagine anyone else in the role after seeing this movie.
The acting is top-notch, albeit a bit melodramatic at points (Beethoven's assistant especially gets a bit heartfelt a bit often). There are a few scenes in this movie which are truly tearjerker moments. The scene in which 'Ode to Joy' is played is predictably great, even though it (like a lot of the film) feels a bit dated now.
All in all, a rewarding and thoughtful piece on a man whose life was indeed complicated and monumental.
A masterfully portrayed and beautifully photographed film of Beathoven's tragic love life. Wonderful music, a twisting plot through affairs and betrayal, and sweeping romance will dazzle anyone who decides to see this film. The acting is pretty good, but it's the story itself that will take your breath away. Also, beware the sad truth at the end. Watch and be captivated. The story opens with the funeral and an investigative man who has the love letters of Beathoven, and tracks down the destined woman. As he searches, he probes into the very heart and soul of one of the world's most famous and adored composers. We can see the twisted plays and deceptions, the lavish love lives and the beautiful women in his life. We also see everything from his true love to the inspiration for Ode to Joy. Perhaps the most sweeping biographical movies of music yet! You're sure to love Immortal Beloved!
After Beethoven's death, his close friend and secretary Anton(Krabbe)
visits the three women that shaped the composer's life to find his sole
heiress he names in the testament his "immortal beloved". The movie is
a beautiful pretext to dissect Beethoven's tormented personality and
love relationships to the three women.
The flashbacks are vivid and intense, beautifully shot and acted by all(Isabella Rosselini and Valeria Golino-both classy as always)with a special mention for Gary Oldman who delivers the performance of his career, delivering intense and haunting images of Beethoven's advancing deafness and alienation from the outside world, the descent into inner darkness and culminating with yet one more proof of his genius when he reveals his masterpiece, composed in absolute deafness, the musical setting of Schillers "An die Freude".
Listening to Beethoven's compositions, superposed on this beautiful and haunting movie, made me reflect on how unbelievable it is that so much beauty can come from so much suffering(probably are inseparable), and how people generally try to avoid suffering at all cost, thus denying themselves intense emotions and gradually distancing themselves from creative inspiration. When Beethoven's nephew Karl tells him that he wants to be a soldier rather than a composer, in my opinion marks the point where the path of genius and common diverge, because extraordinary creative power is not a matter of choice but a path of its own, and because being a soldier besides being a trivial path is destruction directed outwards, opposed to creation, which comes mostly with destruction directed at oneself, because it's a deep search that's bound to stir the psyche and bring everything to the surface, dusky aspects of the personality included.
How can a man be that misread. Nobody understands him, nobody sees how he
feels. His heart's broken. He even can't hear his own music.
I felt sorry for Ludwig and admire him. That movie makes you cry.
Must see it.
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