Immortal Beloved follows the story of Beethoven through a series of flashbacks and recollections that are triggered from interviews that his personal secretary, Anton Schindler, is conducting while on a quest to find the dead composer's secret love, his immortal beloved, with whom he left his entire estate.
Gary Oldman is amazing as the deaf musical genius and the filmmaker goes to great lengths to help us expexperience this weakness. Some of my favorite parts in the movie are when we experience the muted world that surrounds Beethoven. It is amazing to me that one of our greatest musical composers couldn't even hear the notes his fingers were producing. But he could feel it on ever hammer to string, on every finger to key.
Another favorite scene of mine is when Beethoven is asking what is the point of music.
His friend replies, "To exalt the soul."
Beethoven scoffs in his face.
"Utter nonsense. If you hear a marching band, is your soul exalted? No, you march. If you hear a waltz, you dance. If you hear a mass, you take communion. It is the power of music to carry one directly into the mental state of the composer. The listener has no choice. It is like hypnotism. So, now... What was in my mind when I wrote this? Hmm? A man is trying to reach his lover. His carriage has broken down in the rain. The wheels stuck in the mud. She will only wait so long. This... is the sound of his agitation. "This is how it is... ," the music is saying. "Not how you are used to being. Not how you are used to thinking. But like this."
The film plays hop scotch on the time line. We jump back and forth through his life as different people are interviewed and remember different aspects of this man's tormented life.
When Gary Oldman is in this role and begins to age as the composer I can't help but think of his adaptation of Dracula. His pale wrinkled skin and long fingernails. These images haunted me through the frames...in a funny way of course.
A great movie. For anyone who hides that sacred flame of music I highly recommend.