The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to ...
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The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to find out who this beloved was--not easy, as Beethoven has had many women in his life.Written by
Towards the end of the film, the protagonist is seen in discussion with a female who at times communicates with him in a low-tone in order not to be overheard. This would have been impractical however, given that by around the time in which the events surrounding the Immortal Beloved letter took place (the letter is dated 1812), Beethoven had already lost a significant amount of his hearing. Regardless, the composer carries on the conversation as if he wasn't hard of hearing. See more »
Bernard Rose's superior film about the life of Ludwig van Beethoven takes as its central premise a mention in the composer's will of an 'immortal beloved', identity unknown. So far, so intriguing.
With the casting of versatile British actor Gary Oldman as Beethoven, there was potential for a lot of depth of character (which we get, as the passage of time convinces throughout as Beethoven moves from skirt-chasing youth to crabby and deaf old age).
Also impressive within the cast are Jeroen Krabbé as Schindler, Johanna ter Steege as Johanna Reiss, and Isabella Rossellini as Anna Marie Erdody. What could have been a stodgy film is buoyed up greatly by their presence, but it is the central performance of Oldman which counts (he really is a peerless performer of real-life characters - Sid Vicious, Joe Orton, Lee Harvey Oswald ...).
My only gripe would be that the music is sometimes given short shrift, but when it is there, it is wonderful. You get the emotional impact in the snatches of sonatas, symphonies and concertos you hear - but it would have been nice to acknowledge that the film was about a creative artist and musician and let us hear a bit more of his work!
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