Copying Beethoven

"Bad"

Copying Beethoven Review


Does Agnieszka Holland hate Beethoven? That's the only explanation I can offer for this horrible, horrible attempt at making the maestro's final year of life into a biopic. Where to start? Oh, let's look to the obvious: the casting.

Ed Harris plays Beethoven, bringing none of the soul he imbued into Jackson Pollock, instead playing the composer as an uncontrollable creep who runs around with an ear-horn and yelling at people because he's deaf, annoying his neighbors, drinking heavily, and generally making an ass out of himself. Under heavy makeup (namely a clown nose and a long wig), Harris is nearly unrecognizable. Into his world comes Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger), a copyist who helps him complete his famous Ninth Symphony. As is the norm for movies with difficult main characters, he alternately adores and abuses her, such that the film consists largely of her leaving then coming back then leaving again.

Say what you will about Beethoven being a jerk, but Copying Beethoven is just cruel and malicious. Seriously: I'm not a historian but I stil doubt Beethoven would have made fart sounds as he sang aloud the composition of aspiring composer Anna Holtz (who appears to be entirely fictional, by the way). Copying Beethoven also plays pretty loose with history in general, giving us a Beethoven who was still able to hear to some extent up until he keeled over.

As bad as the script is, Harris is worse, brashly shouting his lines when he's not mooning the camera. (Again, I'm not joking.) It's a testament to how bad a movie when Diane Kruger, hardly cinema's most gifted actress, is the best thing about a movie.

Holland, now light-years away from her 1990 Europa Europa pinnacle, is completely off her rocker here. The film is disjointed and random, unable to decide if it's about Beethoven of Anna, or maybe neither. The film's centerpiece is a performance of the Ninth Symphony, with Holtz shadow-conducting for Beethoven, who can't keep time. It goes on for nearly 10 full minutes. I'm not sure I've ever seen a mainstream, narrative movie with such a long stretch of nothing happening, action-wise. And yet it's easily the best part of the film.

The studio must have known: Copying Beethoven had a token release and was a massive flop at the box office, earning a few hundred thousand dollars against its $11 million budget. Now on DVD, you can hear Holand and Harris's commentary on the film, plus get deleted scenes and a making-of featurette. But I'd suggest you avoid it altogether... especially if you're a classical music fan.

Beethoven pulls a finger.



Copying Beethoven

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Thursday 8th March 2007

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Budget: $11M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Anomaly Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Stephen J. Rivele, , Christopher Wilkinson

Starring: as Ludwig van Beethoven, as Anna Holtz, as Martin Bauer, as Mother Canisius, Ralph Riach as Wenzel Schlemmer, Bill Stewart as Rudy, Angus Barnett as Krenski, Viktoria Dihen as Magda, as Mother Canisius, Matyelok Gibbs as Old Woman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.