In 1824 Vienna, young, aspiring composer Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger) works as a copyist for Ludwig Van Beethoven (Ed Harris). As they form a friendship, Holtz struggles with her boyfriend and Beethoven clashes with his nephew.
Big question: Can this tale of friendship appeal to viewers who like all musical styles except classical?
Skip it: Between a hurried start and a "that's it?!" ending, the movie mentions "soul" and "God" so many times you'll wonder when the screen became a pulpit. Harris fluctuates between wild and wise, and we never grasp the transition of the music as it makes its way from the deaf composer's head to our ears.
Catch it: If you want to hear the composer use his mouth to simulate passing gas for the dynamic he calls "fartissimo." Classy, Ludwig. Classy.
Bottom line: While Kruger radiates the beauty of the music, "Copying Beethoven" knows as much about the creative process as Beethoven does about snowboarding.
Bonus: Think about what life would be like without the invention of the Xerox machine. Some poor sap could be stuck copying Federline!
Matt Pais is the metromix movies producer.
Directed by Agnieszka Holland; written by Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson; photographed by Ashley Rowe; edited by Alex Mackie; production designed by Caroline Amies; non-original music by Ludwig van Beethoven; produced by Sidney Kimmel, Rivele, Michael Taylor, Wilkinson. An MGM release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:44. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some sexual elements).
Ludwig van Beethoven - Ed Harris
Anna Holtz - Diane Kruger
Martin Bauer - Matthew Goode
Wenzel Schlemmer - Ralph Riach
Karl van Beethoven - Joe Anderson
Mother Canisius - Phyllida LawCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times