6.8/10
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88 user 77 critic

Copying Beethoven (2006)

A fictionalized account of the last year of Beethoven's life.

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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Anna Holtz
Ralph Riach ...
Wenzel Schlemmer
Matyelok Gibbs ...
Old Woman
...
Bill Stewart ...
Rudy
Angus Barnett ...
Krenski
Viktoria Dihen ...
Magda
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Mother Canisius
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Martin Bauer
Gábor Bohus ...
...
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Neighbor
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Archduke Rudolph
László Áron ...
Judge
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Márta Hainfart ...
Soloist (Soprano)
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The passion behind the genius See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

8 March 2007 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Antigrafontas ton Beethoven  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$70,460 (USA) (10 November 2006)

Gross:

$352,786 (USA) (29 December 2006)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with The Guardian on August 11, 2007, Ed Harris stated that his biggest disappointment has been "The distribution of Copying Beethoven in the US." He also claimed the most important lesson life has taught him is "Don't let MGM distribute a film you care about." See more »

Goofs

In one scene, Beethoven refers to his "Moonlight Sonata" (Sonata 14, Opus 27, No. 2). However, the piece did not come to be known as "Moonlight" until 1832, several years after Beethoven's death, when it was given the nickname by poet Ludwig Rellstab. The true title of the piece, as Beethoven wrote it, is "Quasi una Fantasia". See more »

Quotes

Ludwig van Beethoven: The vibrations on the air are the breath of God speaking to man's soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice, we read his lips, we give birth to the children of God, who sing his praise. That's what musicians are.
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Soundtracks

String Quartet No. 9 in C major Op. 59 'Rasumovsky'
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by The Takács Quartet
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Limited, part of Universal Music Group International
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User Reviews

 
Fine film about music, with a superb Ed Harris performance
25 November 2006 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

As a professional musician I'm tired of seeing movies that claim to depict the lives of musicians, but just don't "get" it. This one, with all its poetic excesses and liberties taken with the "real" story, does "get" it, and more. The writing has some good scenes, the acting for the most part is good. The scenes of music being written and made are quite true to the reality of the doing. In certain ways adding a fictional character to heighten the story weakens the integrity of the film, especially as the film clearly depicts Beethoven's unrequited love for his nephew Karl. Beethoven's real copyists at this point in his life were men. So what was the point of turning them into a young woman, except to sell the picture and make a political statement?

But no matter. The picture has its moments of real beauty visually and emotionally. It captures the look and sound of a world lit only by daylight, candles and firelight, and in which the loudest sounds heard are those of church bells, added by the sound designer at very telling points in the story.

But the strongest thing about the film is the performance of Ed Harris. This is an amazing theater artist. He totally inhabits the character as written, with no tricks, no Method-izing, no self-conscious showing off, as do his contemporaries, DeNiro and Pacino. He totally disappears into the character, and unlike the actors I mentioned, is totally different in each role, in appearance and in voice. It's done so simply, too, without any extra attention-grabbing flourishes. As I've said elsewhere, his work reminds me most of classic film actors like Tracy, Fonda and Stewart in that respect.

I was astounded by the way he acted the role of a musician, which was incredibly accurate, in ways I would expect from this actor, but still it surprised me. The only other performance on film that I've seen which equals it in this respect is that of Claude Rains in the 1946 melodrama "Deception". But then, Harris' father was a musician, singing in the most famous small chorus of his time, Fred Waring's "Pennsylvanians". So Ed Harris grew up around musicians, accounting for his accurate portrayal and his singing voice.

So do see this film, for the music of course, but also for Ed Harris' riveting performance.


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