Immortal Beloved (1994)

R   |    |  Biography, Drama, Music


Immortal Beloved (1994) Poster

The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to ... See full summary »

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7.5/10
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  • Gary Oldman in Immortal Beloved (1994)
  • Gary Oldman and Isabella Rossellini in Immortal Beloved (1994)
  • Gary Oldman in Immortal Beloved (1994)
  • Gary Oldman in Immortal Beloved (1994)
  • Gary Oldman in Immortal Beloved (1994)
  • Gary Oldman in Immortal Beloved (1994)

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Director:

Bernard Rose

Writer:

Bernard Rose

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11 May 2005 | Libretio
9
| Underrated masterpiece
IMMORTAL BELOVED

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)

Sound formats: Dolby Digital / SDDS-8

Following Beethoven's death, his closest friend (Jeroen Krabbé) goes in search of the composer's sole heir, an unnamed woman described as his 'immortal beloved' in a letter which betrays their secret love affair.

Comparisons with AMADEUS (1984) are inevitable, but Bernard Rose's sumptuous biopic is in a veritable league of its own. The director's episodic screenplay relays events in flashback, as Beethoven - played with multilayered conviction by Gary Oldman - is inspired to new heights of artistic endeavor by the three women who dominate his life (Isabella Rosselini, Valeria Golino and Johanna ter Steege), and rendered increasingly bitter by encroaching deafness. Just as tellingly, Rose's handsome film details Beethoven's stormy relationship with a favored nephew (Marco Hofschneider), who was driven to extreme rebellion by the composer's overreaching ambitions. The music is arranged with exquisite grace by Georg Solti, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra: Standout episodes include the moment when Beethoven first plays the 'Moonlight Sonata', and the breathtaking 'Ode to Joy' sequence, framed against an unhappy memory from Beethoven's youth, which culminates in a moment of supreme cinematic glory, one of the most beautiful images this reviewer has ever seen. Vivid production design by Jirí Hlupý, expansive scope photography by Peter Suschitzky; filmed on location in Prague.

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