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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting it right -- at last
At the moment, we're having to watch the DVD on our laptop: still no PAL version, though it's continually promised... like yesterday!

Ed Harris is absolutely magnificent as LvB. The balance between the inner man (who continually "talks to God") and the everyday man (who can't cope with anything in the mundane, day-to-day world) is as near perfect as anyone is...
Published on 15 Feb 2008 by B. P. Jones

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...
Not sure what to say really...one staringly obvious point that anyone who knows the smallest thing about Beethoven is that they probably know he was deaf in the last ten years of his life. The makers of this film clearly don't . The Master could only be spoken to through his "conversation books" or the slate and chalk he kept to hand. Everyone chats away to him in this...
Published on 19 July 2012 by Immortal Beloved


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..., 19 July 2012
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This review is from: Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Not sure what to say really...one staringly obvious point that anyone who knows the smallest thing about Beethoven is that they probably know he was deaf in the last ten years of his life. The makers of this film clearly don't . The Master could only be spoken to through his "conversation books" or the slate and chalk he kept to hand. Everyone chats away to him in this film...He couldn't hear! not even his own incredible music.

Would he have had a women copyist? No. He was certainly not rude to women either. Nice costumes and acting but if you want to learn about Beethoven invest in Phil Grabsky's documentary "In search of Beethoven." As a story I suppose it's nice enough film and the music is amazing. But it doesn't even come close to doing him justice really. He was an awkward old bugger who was also intensley human this is why his music still speaks "from the heart to the heart" after nearly two centuries.

I bought this film more as an addition to my Beethoven collection. I also collect unusual and rare books about the great man and this film is just part of the collection. It'll probably just sit on a shelf now.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting it right -- at last, 15 Feb 2008
By 
B. P. Jones "Peter Jones" (Rochdale, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
At the moment, we're having to watch the DVD on our laptop: still no PAL version, though it's continually promised... like yesterday!

Ed Harris is absolutely magnificent as LvB. The balance between the inner man (who continually "talks to God") and the everyday man (who can't cope with anything in the mundane, day-to-day world) is as near perfect as anyone is going to get. I've been a devotee of LvB for most of my 62 years; watching this film is like seeing a video of an old friend: the interpretation really IS that good.

I know it's factually inaccurate... but that doesn't seem to matter much. The FEEL of the thing is right. This is how the man was: genius, chamber pots, and all. And the part of the film that deals with the 9th's first performance (with a splendid rendering of the finale!) was enough to reduce me (literally) to tears. If you love LvB's music, watch this film: I promise you you won't be disappointed.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best film about the Maestro, 23 April 2010
This review is from: Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
I was intrigued by the title of this film. Copying Beethoven? Copying him how? I'm sure many have tried to copy his work, imitate his genius but as he himself said, "There can and will be thousands of princes, but there is only one Beethoven!" However it soon becomes clear in the film that 'copying' refers to a copyist, a scribe who copies out his musical scores for use of the maembers of the orchestra. Well every composer of the time used those. The copyist here though is a young woman, Anna who wishes to become a composer herself. Very unusual, and knowing Beethoven's character it is extremely unlikely he would have consented to work with a female copyist! Not only that, she presumes to 'correct' the great composer's work!!
You really have to suspend belief in order to make it through the whole of this fantasy LOOSELY based on the last year of Beethoven's life when he composed and premiered the glorious 9th Symphony. There are some scenes which are frankly cringe-making, such as the one wher he supposedly makes fun of a piece of music that Anna has written by pretending to break wind in time to it. Beethoven had a deep respect for women and would never have done such a thing. The other awful moment is when he asks Anna which of his Piano Sonatas is her favourite and when she hesitates announces, "Oh I know, the moonlight!" and bares his behind to her. Just terrible! For one thing Beethoven did not give Piano Sonata no 14 that title, it acquired that after his death, he himself called it 'Sonata in the manner of a Fantasia' and although he was certainly no saint and known to be rude and sometimes outrageously so, never would he have demeaned himself and insulted a female so.
So is there anything to redeem this film? Yes. There are some nice scenes, some funny scenes, some poignant ones, and the depiction of the premiere of the 9th Symphony is very well done even with the innaccuracies. (Beethoven is shown as conducting with Anna's help which he did not in fact do. By that time he was profoundly deaf and it would have been impossible.) However nothing can take away from the sheer beauty and power of the music, and there is a nice long excerpt.
To sum up, if you are a Beethoven fan, you will either hate it because of the innacuracies, or you will be prepared to put up with those to watch a film about the Maestro which gets some things right. If you're not particularly into Beethoven you will probably enjoy the story. Ed Harris's performance is very good.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Artistic license liberally applied, 28 Nov 2011
By 
maximus (England) - See all my reviews
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If you are a keen fan of Beethoven, musically and as a historical figure, then you might find this movie grates on you because of the quite extensive use of artistic license in portraying both facts around the real copyist(s) involved in the final symphony as well as some historical context (for example Beethoven, in this film, refers to the Moonlight sonata, but in actual fact he never gave that sonata such a nickname', it was done when being published year later). There is also no evidence, I am told, of a copyist (male or female) with the degree of influence alluded to in the screenplay of this movie's version of events.

My overall personal impression is that I did enjoy watching it perhaps because, although I like Beethoven, I wouldn't say I'm so keen as to feel affronted by the deliberate inaccuracies.

So... If we were to ignore the artistic license and consider this film as a standalone story about a composer's final 3 years, how does it stand up to expectation of enjoyment of a period drama via blu-ray? Technically the sound and video is excellent. The acting from the two leads is convincing. The supporting cast is also enjoyable to watch, the costumes and sets are very good indeed (i don't know where it was filmed, i.e. whether in the actual original locations or not, but it looks convincing). Having said all that, and despite my enjoyment, I can't say that I would have been greatly worried if (knowing what I know that, having watched it) I had never seen the movie, but since it wasn't expensive when I bought it, I am not overly worried. I think my Mum or aunty would like it more than I did, so that's where it will go next :)

A final thought, when Amadeus was released all those years ago, there had never been a film like it I think. It made quite an impact both from musical and dramatic perspective. There are a lot of reasons for that and it remains a classic to this day, but it would be off topic to go into it too much. I just thought to mention it because that movie also had liberal quantities of artistic license applied, it seemed to work though and the impact was no less for it. A lot of people who knew nothing about Mozart nor classical music were moved so much by the drama and the soundtrack that it opened them to discover more about Mozart, his music and indeed other classical music too. So if we were to compare this Beethoven drama to Amadeus, I think everyone would agree that it is several notches below Amadeus as a movie and in that sense perhaps it's a bit of a failure, not because of Beethoven's music, but because the film as a whole lacks a certain amount of soul and conviction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'HIS FINAL YEARS', 15 Dec 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Anybody that has read any of my music reviews will know that my passion is primarily 'pop' ....my point being you do not need to have a love of the man's music to appreciate this film, you'll find a stunning portrayal of 'Beethoven's' final years by 'Ed Harris along with great back up from 'Diane Kruger' as 'Anna'
'Anna' who aspires to write her own music jumps at the opportunity to assist the 'maestro' 'Beethoven' by copying his works for him.
His health is failing and he is also almost deaf, yet he continues his works.
This rude and arrogant man becomes fond of his assistant and slowly shows her the respect she hopes for.
Yet despite his problems he continued writing till the end and is obviously responsible for some of the greatest 'classical works' of all time.
I must admit other than my old music's teacher's best efforts many moons ago which did give me some awareness, i didn't really make much effort to follow the 'arts' ( music ) so i wasn't sure whether this was for me, i took the chance and i can tell you I would recommend a viewing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Copying Beethoven - not well and with licence!, 9 Aug 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
This is an unlikely story with some highly suspect and quite impossible but, having written that, it is also enjoyable and captures the flavour of the time.

The director, Agnieszka Holland, and the production team, created a real feeling of the period, the driven passion for music, the hectic struggle to have music copied in time for performances or publishers, Beethoven's tempestuous relationship with his nephew and the nature of the premiers, e.g. the Ninth with that poignant and moving scene at the end, a scene well documented in scholarly texts.
Bill Stewart, Matyelok Gibbs, Gabor Bohus, and a young Diane Kruger, all perform admirably but, for me, "the oscar" has to go to Ed Harris, whose wild hair, fierce eyes and seismic temper capture Beethoven well. (Although I cannot recall the reference or source, I seem to remember that Ed Harris had been trying to make this film for some time. Like his portrayal of the mercurial Jackson Pollock - Jack the Dripper -, he fills Beethoven's shoes with enthusiasm.)

I will not go into the unlikely scenes (of which there are quite a few) as that would give too much away. However, it is a "marmite film", so be aware. Although I am well-versed in his music and details of Beethoven's life, I was able to ignore the inaccuracies, the somewhat ridiculous and the completely impossible and enjoy it. I recommend it as a film for its capture of the flavour of the time, the performance of Ed Harris and the events which could have happened - just don't expect John Suchet type information on the screen. Sit back and enjoy the music too.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist Rubbish, 5 Sep 2012
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
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Beautifully shot, magnificently scored, well acted total load of mediocre rubbish! The deadfully clunky script full of anachronisms and just plain lies does nothing for for the historical role of women (no a woman did not improve his score for him and ensured the success of the choral symphony!!!) nor the truth about Beethoven's life. I struggled through 30 increasingy irritating minutes of this "europudding" before discarding the disk - never to be viewed again. That said the technical quality of the blu ray is astonishing. I true case of never mind the film's quality celebrate the transfer!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wasted Opportunity, 9 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
Beethoven. What an amazing subject for a film and what a disappointment. Toe-curling scene with his copyist (a female?!!) helping Beethoven to conduct one of his masterpieces - from centre stage - and giving him lots of encouraging little nods and smiles. Mary Poppins came to mind!
For anyone looking for a quality DVD on Beethoven buy instead, (on Amazon!), 'In Search of Beethoven' a film by Phil Grabsky. Intelligent, moving, worth endless viewing and historically correct! The music is pure joy.
(Sorry - I didn't like the other daft film about LvB either - Immortal Beloved)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Copying Beethoven, 3 Dec 2011
By 
This review is from: Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
I did like the film very much for one reason: Beethovens words! But I did not like this story with the girl. Why a girl? Well to make customers buy it or to go to the cinema of course. In fact it has been a man helping Beethoven to conduct and the story doesn't loose anything if this would have been the case for this film too. I really think it would be far more interesting for music lovers to see the real story instead of a nearly love story... In the end I still would go and buy the film just for the reason I like Beethoven's music...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Horribly American, saved by the music, 23 Mar 2011
By 
Dr. Robert J. George (Elgin, Moray) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] (DVD)
As said, wonderful music destroyed by hideous screenplay together with the standard transatlantic insensitivity to things European (cultural, intellectual?).
God bless America, Beethoven surely will not. The second star was just for the clips of his music.
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Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD]
Copying Beethoven [2006] [DVD] by Agnieszka Holland (DVD - 2010)
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