21 August 2007 | hoggaglust-1
Over the Top and not altogether accurate - what else would you expect!
As startling and entertaining a piece of cinema The Music Lovers is, on the whole it will disappoint those who (not unreasonably) may be expecting an accurate (if typically melodramatic) biopic.
Rife with inaccuracies, The Music Lovers however occasionally elicits tantalising moments of truth which will be familiar to those who might have studied the great man and his music. The moment of madness during the composition of the violin concerto, Tchaikovsk'y mixing fact and fiction during the composition of Eugene Onegin; (resulting in his disastrous marriage), the brief glimpse of his benefactress during a stay at her apartments, the failed suicide attempt etc etc. However, these fascinating glimpses into well documented occurrences are undeveloped, and in their place we are left with a pastiche either of overly romanticised or histrionic scenes of theatrical fantasy.
The real strength here lies in the actor's performances, even Richard Chaimberlain's stuffy and occasionally irritating performance has its moments and Glenda Jackson is wonderful as the vulnerable, unloved wife. The cinematography too is wonderful, evocative and colourful - perfectly in tune with the music of Tchaikovsk'y which also is used to great effect.
If you can take Ken Russel's notorious penchant for the ridiculous (and at times, distasteful) and are not expecting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then The Music Lovers is worth watching if only for its being so gloriously over the top!