Immortal Beloved (1994)

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Bernard Rose directs Gary Oldman, Isabella Rossellini and Valeria Golino in this warts and all biopic of Beethoven. 

A mixed bag period drama. The Citizen Kane style framing device restricts and neuters Oldman’s performance – making him a barely glimpsed question mark, often silent  or in the sidelines rather than out in front waving his baton as you’d want him. The central mystery is also rather daftly resolved – all the anger, pain and unrequited love we bare to witness boils down to some ropey room service and icky stew (imagine Ludwig Van’s Tripadvisor review)! Despite these frustrations, Bernard Rose, the horror director no less, wrangles out some marvellous sequences of revolts, frilly sexiness and the pièce de résistance is the Ode to Joy flashback of inspiration. That montage of magical realism is in particular brilliant cinema. These struts of quality cannot support the entire rickety narrative but they make it worth enjoying at least once.

5

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