Immortal Beloved (1994) Poster

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Yet Another Mis-Interpreted Wonderful Film...
studiojudio28 June 1999
Once again, a film of such glory fell on deaf ears - no pun intended - in this country. I have spent hours reading reviews on this film, stating how awful it was, because it was not true to the real Beethoven's life.... Well, I believe that early on in my life, I learned about some- thing called "Poetic License"....and, in fact, this film IS, basically, a poem. The movie is BASED on a letter that Beethoven actually DID write, to his mystery lover. No one knows, for sure, who the woman really was. And, this is simply a beautiful interpretation of someone's dream of who she COULD'VE been.

This was regarded as an AWFUL thing to do, by many Beethoven authorities - and by people who simply DOUBTED.

Yet, what went overlooked because of these critics' lack of open-mindedness - was an exquisite blend of glorious music, and SUPREME acting.

Once again, Mr. Oldman gave a performance like no other actor in the world can quite match. His style, sensitivity, and

genius as the Tragic Beethoven, was magnificent.

Jeroen Krabbe's portrayal of Anton Schindler, Beethoven's friend and champion - was marvelous.

Johanna ter Steege - who portrayed Johanna, Beethoven's sister- in-law - was exquisite. Why did they ignore HER? It would've been nice to have her stay here, rather than return to her Dutch homeland - to become a major motion picture star, as well. She had one special attribute - she could ACT.

The sets, costuming, sound, and editing were all BEAUTIFUL. But the film was ignored.

Above all, however, Gary Oldman's performance ranked among the best in the world - but it, too, was ignored.

Give the film another chance. It deserves FAR more than it GOT. It was, simply, beautiful...
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Oldman Brings Beethoven To Life
jhclues19 March 2001
Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the greatest composers-- some would say THE greatest-- in the history of the world. But what of the man himself? His passions, his loves? The humanness behind the genius? `Immortal Beloved,' written and directed by Bernard Rose, examines the man behind the music in a dramatization focusing on the mystery behind a letter-- written by Beethoven-- found among his effects after his death in 1827. The letter bears no name or address, but was written to a woman to whom he refers as his `immortal beloved,' with nary a clue as to her identity. But in his final will, it is she to whom he bequeaths his estate, and it therefore falls to Beethoven's secretary, Anton Schindler (Jeroen Krabbe), to unravel the mystery and discover her identity. And as Schindler pursues his quest, a portrait of Beethoven, in his most human aspect, emerges. Reminiscent of the approach taken by Orson Welles with `Citizen Kane,' Rose presents a riveting study of the enigmatic genius that was Beethoven. He suggests a man driven by passion and ego, who was under appreciated during his lifetime (as great artists often are), and who grew bitter in the wake of the slings and arrows fate so surreptitiously hurled at him. The great irony of his life, of course, was the deafness that deprived him of the aural beauty of his own creation, an affliction Rose implies was brought about through the brutality of a drunken father who would beat his son about the head and ears (And in retrospect, what a testimony to his genius, that he could write such music in his head without ever hearing an actual note). As Beethoven, Gary Oldman gives an outstanding performance, one for which he should have received acclaim that somehow was never forthcoming. His ability to create a total character, with such incredible emotional depth as he does here, is astounding. It's puzzling as to why so many of his performances are overlooked, especially at Oscar time. Besides this film, consider his work in `Sid and Nancy,' or more recently in `The Contender.' He is simply a tremendous actor who has yet to have his day in the sun. As Beethoven, he so completely immerses himself in the character that his soul is veritably reflected in his eyes. You feel the silent world in which he was confined for most of his life, and it allows you to identify with the inner turmoil with which he had to cope and endure without respite. Most importantly, Oldman makes you feel that unabashed passion that motivated and drove Beethoven on. It's quite simply a remarkable performance. Turning in notable performances as well are Isabella Rossellini, as Anna Marie Erdody, one of the women in Beethoven's life who may or may not have been the one to whom the letter was intended, and Johanna ter Steege, as Johanna, Beethoven's sister-in-law and the mother of his beloved nephew, Karl (Marco Hofschneider). The supporting cast includes Miriam Margolyes (Nanette), Barry Humphries (Clemens), Valeria Golino (Giulietta), Gerard Horan (Nikolaus), Christopher Fulford (Casper), Alexandra Pigg (Therese) and Luigi Diberti (Franz). Beethoven's renown today, of course, exceeds even mythological proportions, which often facilitates the blending of fiction with fact. But with `Immortal Beloved,' whether or not the finer points are historically accurate or not is of little consequence, for at it's heart this is a love story that is engrossing drama that is altogether transporting. It's a memorable film, highlighted by Oldman's performance and, of course, the music. And there are a number of scenes, as well, that are unforgettable and demand mention. One depicting the debut performance of the `Ode to Joy,' and another in which the young Beethoven (played by Leo Faulkner) runs at night through the streets of the city to escape his drunken father (Fintan McKeown), coming at last to a lake, into which he wades to float on his back; and with the camera positioned directly above, looking down upon him, a billion stars are reflected in the water around him. Then slowly the camera pulls back until the young Ludwig blends with the reflected stars to seemingly take his place among all the brightest lights of the firmament. It's a scene that will leave you breathless and remain etched in your memory forever. And it's but one of the more astounding moments from an astounding motion picture that absolutely must not be missed. I rate this one 10/10.
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A favorite
ArizWldcat3 October 2004
This is one of my all-time favorite movies! I thought the music was well done, and I don't understand the criticisms I've read in this forum at all. The central idea of the movie is just one man's theory of who the "immortal beloved" was. No one knows who it actually was, and most theories I've read disagree with the film. No matter! I thought the premise was interesting, whether or not is was true. What was factual is that Beethoven WAS grouchy (wouldn't you be if you couldn't hear but music was your passion, your life??), and that he had digestive problems. Also factual was that he won custody of his nephew, Karl, and that his relationship with his brother's wife was antagonistic. The other people (countess Erdody, Schindler, etc) were factual people...of course any script written would have to put words in their mouths...big deal. I guess some people just are passionate about what their idea of the truth is (even though NO ONE KNOWS in this case) that they are blinded to the rest. The director is a Beethoven fanatic, and I found this movie to be a loving portrayal. Gary Oldman was absolutely fantastic! He learned to play the piano (spent months doing it) in order to be authentic. Thumbs WAY up on this one.
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Underrated masterpiece
Libretio11 May 2005

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound formats: Dolby Digital / SDDS-8

Following Beethoven's death, his closest friend (Jeroen Krabbé) goes in search of the composer's sole heir, an unnamed woman described as his 'immortal beloved' in a letter which betrays their secret love affair.

Comparisons with AMADEUS (1984) are inevitable, but Bernard Rose's sumptuous biopic is in a veritable league of its own. The director's episodic screenplay relays events in flashback, as Beethoven - played with multilayered conviction by Gary Oldman - is inspired to new heights of artistic endeavor by the three women who dominate his life (Isabella Rosselini, Valeria Golino and Johanna ter Steege), and rendered increasingly bitter by encroaching deafness. Just as tellingly, Rose's handsome film details Beethoven's stormy relationship with a favored nephew (Marco Hofschneider), who was driven to extreme rebellion by the composer's overreaching ambitions. The music is arranged with exquisite grace by Georg Solti, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra: Standout episodes include the moment when Beethoven first plays the 'Moonlight Sonata', and the breathtaking 'Ode to Joy' sequence, framed against an unhappy memory from Beethoven's youth, which culminates in a moment of supreme cinematic glory, one of the most beautiful images this reviewer has ever seen. Vivid production design by Jirí Hlupý, expansive scope photography by Peter Suschitzky; filmed on location in Prague.
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An unforgettable event of cinematic poetry...
Nazi_Fighter_David25 September 2001
Warning: Spoilers
'Immortal Beloved' opens with Beethoven's death, followed by his funeral attended by the mourning masses...

Beethoven's final will and testament are found by the composer's mentor, Anton Felix Schindler (Jeroen Krabbé) who reads that all of Beethoven's music and fortune shall go to his sole heir, his secret passion, his immortal beloved...

No one then, or now, knows who the 'immortal beloved' is...

Director Bernard Rose decided it might be interesting to take a guess... So he framed his film in a puzzled story with Beethoven's confidante searching across Europe for clues...

Determined not to rest until he discovers the maestro's greatest love, Schindler travels to see several ladies in an attempt to learn the identity of the woman who meant so much to Ludwig van Beethoven...

Along the way, he meets with three candidates: Giulietta Guicciardi, Beethoven's attractive piano pupil, to whom Ludwig dedicated his 'Moonlight' sonata; Johanna Reiss, Beethoven's immoral sister-in-law, who 'could not hate the man who could write such music;' and Anna Marie Erdödy, the beautiful Hungarian Countess, who opened her heart to the German composer...

All of the mentioned women loved Beethoven, and one of them could certainly be his angel, his all, his other self...

With the use of the Ninth Symphony's "Ode to Joy," there is a beautiful shot of young Ludwig floating in the firmament, lost thereafter between the luminous celestial bodies... Another scene is quite poignant of Beethoven, unaware even that the music had ceased, is also unaware of the tremendous burst of applause that greeted it...

'Immortal Beloved' is a love story which not only captures the ideas of early 19th century romanticism, but ultimately attempts to fasten the emotional state of the music to the events that Beethoven lived through... We are given a look into the composer's personality... Beethoven is seen impatient, impulsive, unreasonable and intolerant; deafness adds suspicion and paranoia to these attributes...

We are invited to watch his treasured feelings... We are even touched by an artist who yearns to express himself creatively through music... He is an hostile, obstinate lover who would fly into a rage at the slightest provocation, but a sensible human being who carries the music in his heart, and whom the thorns of life had wounded so deeply...

Like all pianists of the late 18th century, Beethoven is raised on the sonatas of expressive music at a time when music was regarded as the art of pleasing sounds... The dramatic scene of his 'Moonlight Sonata' communicated to a deafened ear, expresses all his emotional pain: We listen beautifully what he cannot... He reveals, through his delightful piece, his soul and the inner torment he is suffering... We perceive what the music is evoking in his mind... we also find that he is a temperamental lover who seeks to reach the perfect love...

With finesse and style Gary Oldman stars as the first composer, always stubborn, unyielding and struggling against destiny... Oldman seems to feel the brave, the commanding, and the impetuous of the virtuoso pianist more than what is reassuring or gentle... The muscles of his face swell, and its veins start out... His wild eye rolls doubly wild... His mouth trembles as he looks overpowered with the character's deafness, strengthened by a stubborn nature...

Set in Vienna, but exquisitely shot in and around Prague, 'Immortal Beloved' concentrates on Beethoven's women, his cruel battle for custody and control of his little nephew, his constant fight with himself, with the sound of agitation...

'Immortal Beloved' is a film enriched by a passion, drama and turbulence of an era... The scenery of the aristocratic palaces, elegant middle class town houses, churches and chapels, monuments and fountains are beautiful and exquisite... Beethoven's compositions (wonderfully performed by the London Symphony Orchestra) are splendid and voluptuous...
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absolutely lovely
tierneyeurope17 May 2007
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.
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The wild genius
mermatt30 August 1998
Not quite as dramatic as AMADEUS, to which there are obvious comparisons, it is a powerful film in its own right.

Taking the mysterious letter which Beethoven wrote to his "Immortal beloved" as the starting point, we follow his secretary's attempt to identify the person to whom the letter is addressed. No one knows, to this day, who that person really is, but the film offers an interesting theory.

The letter, however, is just a device to tell the story of the wild genius who personifies the Romantic movement in art. The letter serves much the same purpose as does Rosebud in CITIZEN KANE -- a method of stringing together a series of flashbacks that reveal the personality of the central figure.

The acting is wonderful and the music is powerful.
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mysterious Beethoven biopic
didi-51 February 2005
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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Immortal Beethoven
kenjha14 May 2006
On his deathbed, Beethoven, the greatest of all composers, leaves a note to his "Immortal Beloved." Like Citizen Kane's "Rosebud," this becomes a device to see the life of Beethoven through flashbacks. This interesting mixture of fact and fiction provides a portrait of the composer's social life but sheds little light on his genius for writing music. The soundtrack is all Beethoven (except for a little Rossini), as we get to hear bits and pieces of many of his works. The "Ode to Joy" sequence is well done, juxtaposing the premier of the 9th Symphony with flashbacks to Ludwig's childhood. However, the disjointed structure makes for a somewhat unsatisfying experience. Oldman certainly looks like Beethoven and manages to convey the anguish of a man who never heard most of his greatest works due to deafness, the most cruel fate for a composer.
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The genius and passion of Beethoven caught on film
wisewebwoman21 May 2001
I loved this in the theatre and recently purchased it on video.

Gary Oldman portrays Beethoven with all the warts, near-madness, rage and passion intact. Unlovable almost, except for the sympathy and compassion engendered by his deafness which humanizes him.

The music is wonderful here and tries to explain the emotions behind the man.

The McGuffin of the plot hinges on a letter that was never received by his "immortal beloved". I may have missed something along the way, but how did the narrator of the story get the letter ? That point aside, this is a well done story and captures the era perfectly. I

believe Prague was used for the setting and it is beautiful. This movie could be a matched set to "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" another film which captures his turbulence and frustration and the triumph of his composition of his 9th.

An 8 out of 10 for a very enjoyable movie.
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If I was going to make a movie...
Goon-22 February 1999
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."
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A Most Beautiful, and Under-rated Film.
studiojudio14 July 1999
Despite many critics' comments to the contrary, this movie is 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 film are MAGNIFICENT. Speaking of "magnificent", there IS Gary Old- man - who transcends just about anything. The man is a genius, his performance reflects it, and he is absolutely beautiful as well. Some people talk about the loveliness of the leading ladies in this movie, but with Mr. Oldman on screen, it is very difficult to look at anything else. He is simply electrifying, as he is in most of his movies. Please give this wonderful film another chance - and forget about the critics who didn't appreciate it. Gary Oldman should've received an Oscar, but what else is new?
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Stunning, Brilliant
ariznglori19 June 2006
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!
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A movie to be savored, rather than critiqued on historical accuracy
I_saw_it_happen12 July 2010
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.

Highly recommended.
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historically and biographically inaccurate
ursulahemard23 January 2012
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 1778–29 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 :-)
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Too Much Shouting, Too Little Music
ccthemovieman-18 March 2007
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.
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Great beauty arises from mental anguish
CarsonTrent10 May 2006
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.
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pyrasli19 October 2001
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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This film is perfect- the genius of his music combined with the complexity of his nature....
mdroessler19 February 2012
For me - Beethoven stands alone in his genre - especially for his time. Too many historians worry about minute details in a famous person's life - and discredit stories that take a more artistic approach to revealing something about that person.

No one knows all there is to know about a man from the 18th and 19th centuries - especially about his inner soul and what drives him to brilliance and raging behavior. The idea that there could have been someone unknown is enticing, and the concept of a film telling about Beethoven through the eyes of others is not a new one, but a format that allows more flexibility. I personally am glad they took this approach. Character development was therefore much more interesting.

Oldman's performance was brilliant - and as is often the case with Oldman - you come to feel you are really watching Beethoven. The other personalities also were developed well - and his music was shown in the context of his times - sometimes harsh (his father's beatings) - sometimes tumultuous (the Napoleonic Wars) - sometimes full of love ( the women in his life who did adore him), - and sometimes driven by personal disappointment and anger (the onset of deafness and possibly an unrequited love.....) Beethoven took music to the next level - adding emotion to the beauty and structure already employed by others.....

Some are shocked when I say that he was like the Led Zeppelin of the 19th Century - evoking new responses from listeners then, and still one of the few classical composers that you can play for anyone today and they will say "WOW!". Even those who really aren't fans of this kind of music. That is why they chose the 9th Symphony to celebrate the new millennium in 2000 GLOBALLY. Beethoven is universal and timeless. The movie is a wonderful way of sharing a moment with the maestro.
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It's not fair!
ShahramMirkhani30 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I have heard classical music from when I was only 6 and the first I began with was Beethoven's 5th.

His music always did to me what is said in this movie (made me feel like the composer) and it's not enough if I say I am a Beethoven fan, better to say I admire, adore and pray him...

His works are (in parallel with J.S Bach but in another way) make me feel mad and there are quiet few music that do so to me.

With the above description and with the effort I've made to study his life and works, I believe this movie is a disaster.

With the huge amount of raw material and stories in his life - which Roman Rolland has written that thick book - it's the strangest thing to use his worst, hard-to-believe and neglectable-to-magnify part of his life.

It surely is a crime if we see Beethoven in this way.

The movie may be a good one if it was not based on him and it was a fictional story for that I may give 6 stars but because of the crime they've made I had to omit the later 3 stars!

Please compare with Milos Forman's Amadeus, is it comparable? actually that one was neither completely satisfying but much better than this. Why?

-Gary Oldman is a great actor but not suitable for this role, even as hard as he tries...

-All about the 9th symphony was this? it is considered as 'The greatest symphonic composition for all the time' by almost %100 of the experts. It's the best choice for the EU anthem. It's mystical. It's beyond the imagination and it's written when he was completely deaf! It's - as he has quoted - his greatest piece of work. It's not just an 'Excuse me' letter for his love. Please notify.

-Hostorical references are most of the time incorrect or incomplete. he has hearing problems from his middle 30's but totally deaf in his last ten years. He used to put his head on the piano much later than it is shown. The famous statue which we all have seen for once is made from his face just right after his death so why he is so old and ugly in the ending? and so on....

However, I do not think it's fair to do this with one of the greatest -if not the greatest - composers in history.

Don't you think so?
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An Ode to Stupidity
ahearn0229 January 2002
Handsome, expensive, largely well-acted, and utterly stupid; chaotic history, a grotesque and impossible "solution" to the well-worn enigma of the "Immortal Beloved." The composer is shown performing the Emperor Concerto (which he never did, having by then acknowledged his deafness) at least seven years before its composition, and composing the F Major Quartet (finished, October 1826) on his deathbed (March, 1827) -- I mention these as merely symptomatic of the general fecklessness.
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A historical mess
Kreme17 October 1998
Filled with inaccurate information, not least of which Beethoven's deafness was first, not a secret to anyone, and second, did not occur nearly as early as the film indicates. Certainly not by the time of the third symphony.

The music is very good. The film is confusing, unbelievable, and in many cases, just plain silly.
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Bernard Rose should never direct a film again! EVER!
njmollo8 November 2008
Immortal Beloved is a crime of cinema. Bernard Rose, and I hate to use the word "director", tries to defend his abomination by saying "It is all about the music!" Then why does he treat Beethoven's music with such utter contempt?

Amadeus (1984) is an anachronistic movie but it had one strong vain of integrity. Milos Foreman, the director of Amadeus wanted Neville Marriner to be the musical supervisor, and he agreed only on the condition that Mozart's music would be unaltered, meaning that the music in Amadeus is basically not messed with.

Immortal Beloved breaks that all-important rule and for every scene Beethoven's music simply becomes background muzak, brutally edited or remixed for the "emotional" or micky-mouse effect. For example, at least 4 times at different points in the movie we hear snippets of Beethoven's 7th symphony to evoke sorrow and tragedy. Da Da Da Da of the 5th Symphony is used for the horribly cheesy beginning and then again later for Napoleon's cannons firing! The abridged version of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, which is supposed to be the climax of the film, is a joke that makes no sense at all!

Gary Oldman was one of my favorite actors. He is brilliant in Alan Clark's The Firm (1988) and as Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears (1987). He is simply amazing as Sid Vicious in Alex Cox's classic Sid and Nancy (1986) but as Beethoven, Gary Oldman fails miserably. The blame has to fall at the feet of the "director".

Immortal Beloved is on the same level as a badly directed made-for-TV costume drama. The scene with Beethoven 'explaining' his music while George Bridgetower plays the Violin Sonata No.9, more popularly known as the Kreutzer Sonata, is nonsense and a missed-opportunity, as the relationship between Bridgetower, a black virtuoso violinist and Beethoven, was a stormy, intense and very creative.

I was hoping for some close-up shots of a virtuoso pianist's fingers dexterously playing Beethoven's music. There are none and Gary Oldman does his own miming, so it is easy to see that the music and actions don't fit. Also what accent is Oldman trying to pull off? Did he feel he was still playing Nosferatu?

On the DVD featurette, there are interviews with some of the cast and they struggle to say anything positive about the 'director', his methods or the final result.
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Idiotic Premise
Richard-Nathan28 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
After Beethoven died, love letters he had written to his "Immortal Beloved" were discovered. The name of the Immortal Beloved was not included in the letters. That all makes sense.

However, in this film what is found is not letters but a will - in which Beethoven leaves his estate to his Immortal Beloved, but does not tell anyone who she is. Does that make sense to anyone? If he really wanted to leave her his estate, wouldn't it have occurred to him that it maybe it might have been a good idea to identify her by name?

Are we supposed to think we was an idiot? Are we, perhaps, supposed to think he wrote the will while suffering from dementia? I can't think of any other reason why he would make a bequest to someone he declined to identify.
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A resounding thumbs down
tomintoul1 September 2002
This film is easily among the worst I have ever watched. It was a painful experience getting to the end, but I struggled through, mainly because it's such an appalling film that it demands to be seen complete: it challenges you not to put your boot through the TV, or throw your popcorn at the cinema screen. I resisted with great difficulty.

Gary Oldman turns in a really poor performance as Beethoven (well, to be fair, who wouldn't?), and the soundtrack is execrably done - predictable little snippets of the fifth symphony, etc, tossed in and abruptly edited. Shocking.

I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone unfortunate enough to watch this tripe, but it really is laughable - particularly if you know anything at all of Beethoven's relationships with his family, etc. Then again, I don't think this film is aimed at an audience "in the know" about Beethoven - it is merely a grossly distorted cheap novelette type story that just happens to be about one of the greatest artists and characters in history. Does Beethoven's life story need to be manipulated in this way to provide "entertainment" for the audience it's aimed at, most of whom will not take the slight interest they may have in Beethoven any further anyway?

I notice that already this film is offered on VHS in the "bargain basement" category. Little wonder. The director of this sensationalised tosh should be ashamed of himself.

"Amadeus" was bad enough with its gross distortion of Salieri, but at least it had entertainment value. This film is an insult to Beethoven and the very things he stood for.
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