Copying Beethoven


Action / Biography / Drama / Music

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Matthew Goode Photo
Matthew Goode as Martin Bauer
Diane Kruger Photo
Diane Kruger as Anna Holtz
Ed Harris Photo
Ed Harris as Ludwig van Beethoven
Joe Anderson Photo
Joe Anderson as Karl van Beethoven
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
956.38 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 1 / 2
1.92 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 0 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gradyharp8 / 10

A Superb Beethoven Biography for the Laymen

There are many things to be said in favor of director Agnieszka Holland's ('Europa, Europa', 'Total Eclipse', 'The Secret Garden', 'Olivier, Olivier') COPYING BEETHOVEN as written from fragments of questionable truths about the composer's final years by Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson: the film is gorgeous to look at for all its candlelit sepia scenes and of course a pleasure to hear as the musical score is primarily excerpts of Beethoven's music, and for the towering performance of Ed Harris as the deaf, dirty, cruel, grumpy, gross Ludwig van Beethoven. There have been sufficient biographies of the master to set the facts straight and this particular viewer has no problem at all with the tinkering of truth in creating a cinematic story that might help to explain the idiosyncrasies of the old master composers. It is a movie to enjoy: it is not a true story for all its attempts to recreate the life of the composer.

In COPYING BEETHOVEN the premise is that the 'hard of hearing' Beethoven needs a copyist to help him complete his Symphony No. 9 due to a premiere of the work in four days time. Wenzel Schlemmer (Ralph Riach),Beethoven's usual copyist, is dying of cancer and arranges for the best pupil at the academy to assist Beethoven. That pupil happens to be a female, one Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger),who arrives at Beethoven's filthy apartment and struggles to convince the composer that she is worthy of the task. Anna is in love with a bridge builder Martin Bauer (Matthew Goode) and finds herself devoting her mind and attention to Beethoven rather than to Martin. Beethoven has never married and instead is in love with his nephew Karl (Joe Anderson) who refuses to follow his uncle's footsteps and instead mistreats him by constantly begging/stealing money form him to pay his gambling debts. So with this cast of characters Beethoven proceeds to complete his now famous 9th Symphony with Anna's help. Beethoven is to conduct the premiere but must depend on Anna (substituting for the errant Karl) to sit in the orchestra and give him cues. The performance is of course greeted with rapture, but Beethoven knows his output is not finished and the remainder of the film deals with his struggle to write the Grosse Fugue for his final string quartet, a piece the public (including Anna) loathes but one that Beethoven recognizes as the bridge to the next advance in music writing. Reduced to self pity, Beethoven dies, but Anna is going to carry the torch for her hero...

The problems with watching COPYING BEETHOVEN that will make those who know the facts of the composer's life stumble are many: Beethoven was completely deaf in his latter years, unable to hear his music much less conversations with people; Beethoven did not conduct the premiere of his 9th Symphony but instead sat deafly in the orchestra not even able to hear the score at which he stared; the gentility with which Ed Harris' Beethoven shows is in sharp contrast to the rascally and despicable behavior of the real man. But those facts don't lend themselves to a good story for cinema and the writers and director were wise to realize this. So forgive the straying from the truth and settle back for a very entertaining if factually irresponsible 'biography'. The musical portions of the film are so truncated that the music suffers, but that matters little to the impression Beethoven's 9th, even in soundbites, has on audiences. If for no other reason, see this film for the bravura performance by Ed Harris. Grady Harp

Reviewed by jotix1008 / 10

The sound of music

Imagine a great composer in his last days. Besides being an impossible genius, he is deaf! There couldn't be anything worse for a man in Ludwig Van Beethoven's shoes. The music he gave to the world, could only be heard in his head, which was a punishment he certainly didn't bargain for.

Anieszka Holland's "Copying Beethoven" is a dark film that tries to imitate the state of mind of the great composer during the last period of his life. The screen play, by Stephen Riveli and Christopher Wilkinson present an unique situation as the maestro's music publisher tries the daunting task to help the man as his 9th Symphony is to have its world premiere in Viena in 1824.

Enter Anna Holtz, a woman who studies music and has even tried her hand at composing. Her first meeting with "The Beast", as Herr Schlemmer, the publisher, calls him, is a disaster. Beethoven has no other choice but to engage her, insisting she works out of his filthy quarters that has rats scurrying all over the place. Supposedly, Beethoven had two men that helped him with the transcriptions and other matters, but that wouldn't be cinematic. The whole thing was changed in order to allow a beautiful woman be the one that serves as the maestro's ears when it came to helping him conduct his last symphony to great critical acclaim.

Ed Harris, an American actor, might have appeared to be the wrong choice for playing Beethoven, but he gives a good performance as the deaf man who sees beauty in his own music, but who can't even hear what it sounds like. Diane Kruger, who is a gorgeous woman, contrasts with the sloppy musical genius from the start. Ms. Kruger manages to get our attention to this woman who endured a lot in trying to help the man she admired.

The film is dark. The film was shot in Hungary, which passes for Beethoven's Vienna. Ashley Rowe photographs the stark places where most of the action takes place to give it a realistic look. The 9th Symphony one hears in the background is by Bernard Haitink and the Concertgebow Orchestra, and it shows. Had one heard the small ensemble and chorus one sees in the film, the glorious music wouldn't have sound as robust as it does in the picture.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird5 / 10


I love Beethoven, and while Copying Beethoven is far from bad, it didn't completely work for me. The music is superb, Diane Kruger is strong as Anna, the cinematography, editing and scenery are sumptuous and Ed Harris is a brilliant Beethoven playing him as witty, cruel and tormented, plus Agnieszka Holland directs well.

To a lesser extent, I did like the Ninth Symphony scene, and thought it was one of Copying Beethoven's better scenes, but if I hadn't seen the scene from Immortal Beloved featuring that piece of music first which was much more poignant it would have had more of an impact on me. I know people are upset that Copying Beethoven is mostly fictional and it is, but that didn't bother me as such though they could have elaborated on Beethoven's deafness and the wash me scene more. It was the script and story structure that bothered me as well as the pacing. The script for me was stilted and was very anachronistic, so much so the dialogue does jar and becomes distracting. The film does have a somewhat convoluted story structure too with one too many disconnected scenes, while the film plods badly especially in the last act and the fictional character of the copyist is dull and uninteresting.

All in all, it is not awful but sorry I wasn't particularly enthused. 5/10 Bethany Cox

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