Vienna, 1824. In the days before the first performance of the Ninth Symphony, Beethoven needs help with copying out the charts, so a promising student of composition, Anna Holtz, 23, is sent to assist him. She not only aids the transcription of the notes, she provides guidance from the orchestra pit as Beethoven conducts the work's debut. During the next two years, the final ones of Beethoven's life, Anna provides assistance to the deaf, temperamental, ailing man. In return, he tutors her in composition and explains to her the ideas and principles of Romanticism. He tries to speak for God. Written by
I find myself alarmed that people are not so critical of a work that deserves criticism. The many similarities, both structurally and literally, with 'Amadeus' aside the 'Copying Beethoven' deliberately chooses the easy path by putting audience before art. And therefore denying the world a discerning, intelligent and creative work.
Now consider the following: Is it not possible that the real story of the creation of the ninth symphony may actually be an engaging and powerful story itself and equally so in a dramatic telling? Beethoven was completely deaf by the writing of the symphony isn't that more interesting? How WAS the symphony conducted? Wouldn't it be great to know? So ask yourself, what possible motivation could a filmmaker have for introducing a woman as the copyist? If there was a copyist, he would certainly be a man. What was his story? (please try to be a little critical here even if you like the invention of a woman composer).
Fantasy should be much MORE than a distortion of reality to serve a writers purpose. For those who find themselves comparing and justifying the invention of Anna Holtz with the invention of Salieri's claim to have murdered Mozart in 'Amadeus', consider that he confessing to a priest in a lunatic asylum (Schaffer uses this device to great affect in the film). 'Copying Beethoven' may have worked if Anna was a figment of Ludwig's fevered imagination. But we are meant to believe she is 'possible'... Yes and that Strauss was assisted by aliens.
Most of the positive reviews I've read here so far are often expressions of a DESIRE for the film to be good; almost a deliberate amnesia. Remembering the film for what you wish it to be rather than what it is.
For those who believe that fantasy justifies the means then consider you are not only accepting an inferior interpretation of real events but also sacrificing the truth for the sake of a triviality.
Finally, a short note on the acting here that may surprise some of you. Ed Harris is NOT good as Ludwig Van Beethoven. Does that shock you? He looks awkward throughout the film, much like an actor dressed up, but off set and standing at the catering table. Most of his lines are said as cues rather than replies to Anna Holtz's lines (i.e. he is not listening to the actor). He is quite clearly an actor masquerading as the character rather than BEING the character.
Really, how many times does Beethoven have to roll in his grave before we get it right? Just ask yourself, would Ludwig approve?
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