Rated: R Reviewed by: Frank Release date: January 6, 1995 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
A child floating on a starlit pond into eternity is the final image of Beethoven in director Bernard Rose's Immortal Beloved.
The beauty and tranquility of that moment is in sharp contrast to Gary Oldman's Beethoven. He is constantly an angry, violent bully who is vengeful and filled with self pity. All his vengeance and negative behavior arises because he cannot or will not have the woman whom the script identifies as his Immortal Beloved.
Long and confusing at times, the script presents a powerful emotional journey for Oldman as the main character. The story unfolds through the eyes of Schindler (Jeroen Krabbe), the unofficial investigator who will not rest until he can identify Immortal Beloved, who is also named to inherit all of Beethoven's estate and music.
The film begins at the end with Beethoven in a dark room looking old and sickly. As he awakens, Beethoven's 5th Symphony fills the soundtrack. The story is exposed in various flashbacks. Earlier in life Beethoven was a free ladies man. He picked fro the flowers at court and had a good time. At some point he fell in love and that began his dark journey through the remainder of his life. The early scenes are a light sexy romp, the ending a glorious funeral through the streets with admirers reaching to touch the casket of the famous composer. It marks a strong contras with the paupers' grave for Mozart in Amadeus.
Oldman's character draws little sympathy for his plight. He is too self engrossed to be understood. The three women who are prime candidates to be Immortal Beloved are more comfortable to observe. Isabella Rossellini plays Countess Anna Marie Erdody, Valeria Golino is Julia Guicciardi and Johanna Ter Steege is the sister-in-law Joanna Van Beethoven.
Immortal Beloved is an interesting but dark journey through a difficult portion of Beethoven's life.