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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistic fiction, but wonderful nevertheless....
In my view, this isn't an out & out attempt at a strict biopic, and the casual viewer should be aware that a considerable amount of artistic license has been taken with the storyline.
However, get over the need for absolute historical accuracy; what this movie's really about is providing a hugely enjoyable feast for the senses. Gary Oldman is superb. Whoever...
Published on 10 Sep 2003 by Ashley Jenkins

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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beloved Beethoven
The title of the film relates to a letter sent by Beethoven to a lady with whom he had fallen in love. But the name of that lady is unknown and this mystery has long fascinated Beethoven scholars. Many have been the names put in the frame. Bernard Rose, who wrote as well as directed this movie, presents his theory. Is it Giuletta Giucciardi, Countess Gallenberg, or...
Published on 24 Aug 2008 by Nicholas Casley


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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistic fiction, but wonderful nevertheless...., 10 Sep 2003
By 
Ashley Jenkins (Southampton, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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In my view, this isn't an out & out attempt at a strict biopic, and the casual viewer should be aware that a considerable amount of artistic license has been taken with the storyline.
However, get over the need for absolute historical accuracy; what this movie's really about is providing a hugely enjoyable feast for the senses. Gary Oldman is superb. Whoever decided to cast this seemingly unlikely choice for the lead role deserves an award for inspiration bordering on genius. The metamorphosis Oldman achieves is little short of miraculous, a grand statement to the high art of character acting. It's clear that our man has researched his role with an absolute determination to capture the great composer's persona. Thank you Mr Oldman, for what it's worth you've earned this punter's total respect and I'm sure there'll be literally millions more like me. No doubt some of the more academic types will scoff at my sentiments but I think they are missing the point. This is an extremely beautiful film, hugely enjoyable and will doubtless encourage many encountering Beethoven for the first-time to investigate further, itself a great thing.
The setting & atmosphere for the gradually-decaying early 19th century Hapsburg Empire are finely depicted & evocative, and in particular the use of light - both natural & artificial, shows exceptional skill. This is a work of craftmanship by a team who obviously knew what they were doing and worked hard at getting things right.
To sum up, this isn't history, but make no mistake, as a piece of entertainment it's a classic. . The final evocation of Beethoven's spirit set to the Ode to Joy captures this great genius's monumental legacy... hope, a gift for all mankind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful, Moving Film, 2 Jun 2012
By 
Brawny Withed (Leeds, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
Immortal Beloved is an interesting film focusing on events in the composer Ludwig Van Beethoven. Rather than a biopic the film begins with Beethoven's funeral and his friend and assistant trying to find who his 'Immortal Beloved' is in his last will and testament. In this way the film is very similar to the excellent 'Citizen Kane' which uses employs flashbacks to tell the story.

Gary Oldman plays Beethoven with a subtle German accent and you can sense the frustration and anger of his struggle with Deafness and communicating with the people around him who presume he is just arrogant and ignorant.

The music of course is fantastic and it complements the story, the atmosphere and mood of the film, especially when it is revealed who Beethoven's 'Immortal Beloved' was!

Although in my opinion 'Immortal Beloved' isn't as good as 'Amadeus' it is a very different film and I would still highly recommend the film to lovers of great music and moving drama.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beloved Beethoven, 24 Aug 2008
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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The title of the film relates to a letter sent by Beethoven to a lady with whom he had fallen in love. But the name of that lady is unknown and this mystery has long fascinated Beethoven scholars. Many have been the names put in the frame. Bernard Rose, who wrote as well as directed this movie, presents his theory. Is it Giuletta Giucciardi, Countess Gallenberg, or Anna-Marie, Countess Erdody, or Johanna Reiss, his sister-in-law?

There is so much that is wrong with this film - for example, its historical inaccuracies; the lack of consistency in accents; and the use of hilly Prague to portray flat Vienna. Watching this film I was often confronted with the crass, the artless, the preposterous, the embarrassing, and the laughable. We have comedy with Barry Humphries as Metternich, Dame Edna Everage struggling to emerge from within his breast. We have naff lines such as Schindler's "It was that damned sonata" on the day that he met Beethoven. And yet, and yet ...

The film is colourful and imaginative, Beethoven's deafness is convincingly conveyed, and the sub-story of the composer's relationship with his nephew is well-told. Perhaps the idea was to replicate the success of "Amadeus" for Beethoven with a high-quality costume-drama. Bernard Rose says that he used the story of seeking Beethoven's "immortal beloved" as an excuse to show the more private and difficult sides of the composer.

Jeroen Krabbe (originally marked down as to play Beethoven) is good as the composer's amanuensis Schindler; equally good is Johanna Ter Steege as the subject of the title. But Gary Oldman is mesmerising as the man himself; his eyes, his hair, his lips, all seem so perfect for the role. Oldman says that he passed on the script twice, but realised it would be a good departure from his usual roles. He tells us that we have to look at the film as a fiction, as Beethoven filtered through the director's vision. Bernard Rose concedes that his film has been attacked by scholars on historical grounds, but he insists that the movie is about the music, being aimed at twelve- and thirteen-year-olds to show that Beethoven's music was not stuffy - is not stuffy - but rather something worth exploring. And indeed, on the way, we hear some of the greatest music ever written, with Georg Solti conducting, the music editing into the film being skilfully done and very commendable.

The extras on this DVD include `talent files' for the main actors and director, a director's commentary, a five-minute featurettes and a thirty-minute documentary called "Beloved Beethoven".
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldman the real Pianist, 14 Mar 2012
By 
Mr. C. MCGRORY (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
Just to add my own comment. Gary Oldman is brilliant in this film which captures the essential drama of Beethoven's life. No need to get hung up on historical details.

However one truth that is missed over. Gary Oldman is an accomplished classical pianist. He is actually playing Beethoven.

I saw a brief interview with him and his mother at the time of the film's release and he revealed his own playing when he had to correct people who told him he had done a wonderful job of miming the playing!

He had to correct them, "It was me playing!"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime, 23 Aug 2012
By 
Frank Bierbrauer (Manchester, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
A sublime film with Gary Oldman playing Beethoven with deep intensity as he of course is so well known from that famous portrait. This portrait is present in one particular scene of the film and you can immediately see how good Oldman really is. I never for a moment took the film as portraying a factual story but rather as a way to show the character of Beethoven and maybe also to show how his great genius was engendered (encroaching deafness, love lost). The lighting is superb, the use of Beethoven's great music is astonishing. I watched the film with one of my sisters and she like me were deeply emotionally affected throughout. I think it really shows what it took to be such a genius and it simply demonstrates in the most sublime way his music, oh his music, or as is said at the end of the film, how could anyone who could write music like that be all bad.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immortal Beloved DVD, 19 April 2012
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
First saw this film on release in the USA in the 90's and I was able to also purchase it on video tape some time later. I have watched it many times and have never tired of it. A fabulous film which depicts the life and music of Beethoven,wonderfully acted with music that is second to non. A truly brilliant film that will never date.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review for Immortal Beloved, 23 Aug 2009
By 
S. Vanner (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
This is a really good film, which is given a terrific portrayal of Beethoven by Gary Oldman. The story of the film all based around Beethoven's friend - Anton Schindler's - relentless search for the troubled genius's `immortal beloved'. Although a lot of the film's content is not based on truth, Beethoven's music is wonderfully incoporated throughout the film to great effect, with great empathy for the maestro's turmoil over his deafness, with his relationship with nephew Karl, and ending with a heart-rending conclusion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The comedy is over, 20 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
Gary Oldman gives a truly superb and inspired performance as the troubled composer, LvBeethoven. The film focuses on Beethovens love life, with focus on his character and gradual loss of hearing. There are good and bad bits to the film. Some scenes are very well done, eg. the scene where Beethoven lays his head on the piano in order to hear the sound of the piano, and Beethoven's final and disastrous public performance, the premier of his magnificent Emperor concerto, a piece which features quite prominently in the film. The music is of course a highlight. I personally like the selection, which consists of his most famous works. However, the music could be seen by some to be clichéd, like the stormy section of the pastoral symphony building up as Beethoven begins to lose his temper.

To begin with I was impressed with the historical accuracy. Placement of music is good, the sonatas appear at vaguely the right times. Events considered genuine appear in the film eg. the story behind the premier of his 9th symphony, which is now fairly well known. Tears fill beethovens eyes when he hears nothing at the end, and he has to be turned around to accept the crowds ecstatic response. Beethoven's music was "epic", and I feel that the film should have had a more dramatic and epic quality. Too often there are missed opportunities to make things bigger.

The film is degraded for me by the naff conclusion that Johanna reiss was Beethoven's "immortal beloved". Unlike Schaffers Amadeus (1984) where the Mozart/ salieri plot is clearly just a story, here the writer and director Bernard Rose instead makes a dodgy truth claim. What would he know? No Beethoven expert agrees with him. Looking at the facts, it was more likely josephine brunsvik, whom he dedicated the moonlight to. I's my main problem with the film. It's incomprehensible, as this conclusion is not exactly needed to elevate the film, which is good enough already. Also, the presentation of ludwigs father Johann is overwhelmingly negative, when no solid evidence suggests he was in any way a harsh instructor. I guess this sort of myth making is needed to make a more interesting story line?

In short, a good film, but let down by the script. Other reviewers have mentioned the naff lines that appear every so often and they really do grate. Worth watching, but not really worthy of an excellent rating all round, which is why i only give 3.5 stars.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle evocation of turbulent musical genius., 24 April 2009
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Amazon Customer (Bournemouth UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Immortal Beloved [DVD] (DVD)
Immortal Beloved [DVD] [1994]

When Beethoven (Gary Oldman) died his friend Anton Schindler Jeroen Krabbe) discovered four letters addressed to the "Immortal Beloved" and as we followed Schindlers efforts to trace the unknown woman (no one has ever discovered for certain who she was) but considered to be one of the four women portrayed in the film.

This is not a biopic but a very successful effort to use selective flashbacks to evoke the rebellious and turbulent nature of this unhappy creative genius, including his obsessive behaviour towards his nephew Karl (Marco Hofscheinder).

The portrayal of the composer confronted with total deafness is searing, particularly the scene where he tries to hear a piano by laying his head on the lid, and later having to be turned around during the first performance of his Choral Symphony to acknowledge the applause.

Am absolute gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining nonsense!, 21 April 2014
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
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This epic fantasy based on a rather daft speculation about a love letter found after the great composer's death is clearly modelled on Citizen Kane's "rosebud" mystery. The production values are high and well transferred on this blu ray - and the performances are good too - but ironically you don't really find out that much about Beethoven! The convoluted plot, whereby we are given a ludicrous theory about who his "Immortal Beloved" actually was, is quite entertaining but falls far short of what a proper bio-pic might have achieved. Yes it's all enjoyable enough and the production values are lush but at the end of the day it's high quality - but totally ludicrous and unsubstantiated - soapy opera speculation! That said - it's much better than "Copying Beethoven" now that really is a shocker in its misattribution of the source of the composer's genius! With such lies being promoted about Ludwig Van - he really must be spinning in his grave - probably in rhythm with a new "authentic" version of his Fifth Symphony whose composition is attributed to his lover Tchaikovsky!
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