Will there ever be a decent movie made about any part of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life? Bernard Rose’s 1994 Immortal Beloved is close to beloved in some circles, but despite some gorgeously arranged musical sequences, it plays mostly like a Prague-infused version of Pink Floyd The Wall. And it wasn’t exactly going for the LSD crowd. After about 30 minutes of Agnieszka Holland’s woefully underimagined Copying Beethoven, you might be praying for some LSD, because then the movie might take on a life of its own, instead of the pulseless waxworks display it ends up becoming. In this case, hard of hearing Beethoven (Ed Harris) is in his later years, sleazing around Vienna and in his filthy home, when a fair-haired beauty named Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger) whirrs into his life, becoming his copyist and eventual caretaker, all the while trying to pursue her own music (which Beethoven likens to farting in one of the more animated scenes) and settling in with an ambitious suitor (Matthew Goode, utterly wasted here) who seems like a swell guy but he has no, you know, passion. Nor does the film, though director Holland occasionally gives you a sense of dank European flavor, as in her once-terrific movies. It doesn’t help that Harris’s characterization of LVB seems more apropos to Ebenezer Scrooge (if Scroogey had mooned people, that is). But at least it’s a characterization, which is more than can be said for the catatonic state of deadwood Kruger perennially inhabits. An actress who has yet to prove why she scores major parts in movies, the picture is continually stopped in its tracks by her inability to show any range as a performer, and since she inhabits virtually every scene in the film, you’re left with the equivalent of a composition without words, notes…hell, even the paper it’s written on.
- Agnieszka Holland
- Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson
- Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Matthew Goode, Ralph Riach, Bill Stewart, Phyllida Law, Nicholas Jones, Joe Anderson, Angus Barnett, George Mendel
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