In Case You Missed It

While preparing this week’s review, I consulted several other reviews of the same movie, just out of curiosity.  I wanted to see if other reviewers enjoyed this movie as much as I did.  The conclusion I came to—most people who review movies are pretentious snobs.

Having said that, I have a complaint to make about people who review historical movies.  Is it just me, or do they feel the need to dazzle us with their brilliance?  They obviously have a need to point out to a whole bunch of complete strangers just how much they know about the historical subject in question.

Yes, we get it.  We know the movie isn’t historically accurate.  We know that’s “not how it really happened.”  But guess what?  We don’t care.  You know why we don’t care? Because it’s a movie.  It’s a fictionalized, stylized account of something.  If you really have an interest in seeing “what really happened”, there are these things called documentaries out there.  They’re usually fairly dry and give a detailed account of actual events, as they took place.

Okay, now that I have that out of my system.  Our movie for this week is called Copying Beethoven.  It’s a fictionalized story about the life Ludwig Von Beethoven while he was attempting to write his famous 9th Symphony.

The plot follows the story of a young (fictional) woman, Anna Holtz, who is working for Beethoven as a copyist.  She is an aspiring composer herself, and hopes that working with the maestro will help advance her career.  Thus the title, Copying Beethoven, works on two levels, she is both his ‘copyist’ and she is attempting to ‘copy’ him.

This was an outstanding movie.  There’s a lot of movies I don’t like.  I’m not easily impressed.  But this one impressed me.  If that’s not good enough for you, I had the privilege of watching this film with a small group of high school aged kids—they too, thoroughly enjoyed it.  If teenagers can enjoy a movie about Ludwig Von Beethoven, that ought to be the ultimate seal of approval.

The role of Beethoven was performed by Ed Harris.  When I first noticed this, I was surprised.  It seemed like an unusual choice to portray a German composer from the early 19th Century.  But he does a fantastic job.  In fact, even astute movie-viewers would probably not be able to recognize that it IS Ed Harris.  Please don’t misunderstand, I think Ed Harris is a great actor, but I had just never thought of him as the type to be in a powdered-wig period-piece like this.  Actually, “powdered-wig” isn’t an accurate representation.  It’s closer to a Victorian setting than anything.  (In fact, at times one might confuse Beethoven for Ebenezer Scrooge).

The female lead was Diane Kruger.  If you are unfamiliar with Diane Kruger, she’s a talented German-born actress who has appeared in a few other notable movies including Troy, National Treasure and Inglorious Basterds.  Aside from being a very capable performer, it doesn’t hurt that Ms. Kruger also ranks about an 8.5 on the “easy to look at” scale.

A few small complaints have to be made of course.  As noted in my initial statements, many other reviewers have criticized the historical accuracy of the account.  I’m no expert on the life of Beethoven, but I do know enough to say that they got the overall general feel of the character correct.  Those may not be the exact words he would have used, and that might not have been the color of shirt he wore on Tuesday—or whatever complaint they may have—but, as I said earlier, it’s not intended to be a documentary.

So, with those things in mind, give it a try, it’s sure to hold your interest.

Title: Copying Beethoven
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Advisories: Brief Nudity (a man’s butt), some crude humor
Running Time: 104 minutes