In an effort to create another Amadeus, the film chooses to use Beethoven's will, wherein he leaves his estate to a nameless "immortal beloved," as the starting point for delving into Beethoven's past. Consequently, much of the film is interested in Beethoven's supposed relationships with the women around him. Here, the film somewhat takes leave of reality, playing fast and loose with the facts of Beethoven's life. In fact, the film's final claim of a certain woman as Beethoven's immortal beloved is considered absurd by most historians.
Of course, one expects a certain liberty with the truth in Hollywood, and the triumphs of this film shouldn't be tarnished by such an outdated concept like reality. The real stars of the film are Beethoven's music and the visual imagery used to portray what the musical passages are trying to say. This technique breathes new life into his work, the film ending with a stunning visual interpretation of Beethoven as an abused child, set to the strains of the spectacular "Ode to Joy." Regardless of the truth, the impressions left from the film are not easily forgotten.
Run time: 121 mins
In Theaters: Friday 6th January 1995
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Icon Entertainment International, Majestic Films International
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 14
IMDB: 7.4 / 10
Director: Bernard Rose
Producer: Bruce Davey
Screenwriter: Bernard Rose
Starring: Gary Oldman as Ludwig van Beethoven, Jeroen Krabbé as Anton Felix Schindler, Isabella Rossellini as Anna Marie Erdödy, Johanna ter Steege as Johanna Reiss, Marco Hofschneider as Karl van Beethoven, Miriam Margolyes as Nanette Streicherová, Barry Humphries as Clemens Metternich, Valeria Golino as Giulietta Guicciardi, Valeria Golino as Giulietta Guicciardi, Gerard Horan as Nikolaus Johann van Beethoven, Christopher Fulford as Kaspar Anton Carl van Beethoven, Luigi Diberti as Franz Josef Guicciardi, Michael Culkin as Jakob Hotscevar, Sandra Voe as Marie Fröhlich, Bernard Rose as Elector Max Friedrich