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Copying Beethoven, (Klang der Stille) (2006)



Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 80
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 58

A pretentious historical drama that's ultimately a drag, despite Ed Harris' powerful performance.


Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 17

A pretentious historical drama that's ultimately a drag, despite Ed Harris' powerful performance.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 14,091

My Rating

Movie Info

When a young Vienna Music Conservatory student and aspiring composer accepts a job as a copyist for Ludwig von Beethoven, she soon finds her destiny forever interlinked with that of the legendary classical musician in director Agnieszka Holland's romantic period drama. Beethoven (Ed Harris)'s "Ninth Symphony" is about to make its historical debut, but Beethoven's publisher Herr Schlemmer is dying of cancer. Now in desperate need of a copyist to complete the score, the ailing Schlemmer enlists

Apr 3, 2007


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All Critics (80) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (58) | DVD (10)

The direction from Polish New Waver Agnieszka Holland feels more like she's testing a new camera than attempting to capture the nuances of the artistic process, and if we're to believe the script, then all great art derives 'from the gut'.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beethoven turns out to be like every obnoxious self-absorbed creative type you've ever met

June 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie is completely beguiling, and it delivers joy, the beautiful spark of the gods.

November 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Someday someone will make a great movie about an immortal composer, but for now the best movie about any Beethoven I've ever seen stars a Saint Bernard.

November 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Always an intelligent presence on screen, Harris here embraces the challenge of showing us the man behind the wall of music.

November 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You may walk out of Copying Beethoven humming the movie. But that's not the same as singing its praises.

November 10, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stuck between Kruger's blankness and Harris's overemoting, the film never finds a balance.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

The once promising Polish director Agnieszka Holland ("Olivier, Olivier") stumbles with this muddled story about Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger), a 23-year-old composition student sent to 1824 Vienna to transcribe sheet music for the demanding and cruel Ludwig

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source:

It's the kind of movie made purely for acting awards, which is really unfair to audiences who deserve at least some story for their money.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source:

You can mock this film if you like, but it remains watchable throughout. And the ears have it when the eyes don't.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

As wooden as a piano stool.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: thelondonpaper

If the composer's shade could hear the words this script has put in his mouth it really would be a case of "roll over, Beethoven", right there in his grave.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

A great example of that time-honoured genre, the biopic so silly it plays like a spoof.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Amateurishly written, scarcely acted tosh.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A fatuous, bafflingly imagined tale of the unhappy and unwell Beethoven and his ordeal in preparing the Ninth Symphony for its premiere.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Diane Kruger is the most appealing scenery in this rose-tinted nonsense.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Boring and pointless.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

Like the wrinkled buttocks he flashes at Kruger, however, this portrait of the artist could use some tightening up.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Brief bursts of passion aside, this is a lifeless facsimile of the great artist's last days.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A dull and uninspiring film, despite Harris' best efforts.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

A great soundtrack is drowned out by a lot of tedious harping on.

August 14, 2007 Full Review Source: BBC

A horrid mess of a film, only the music elevates it from being a total dud.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Enough to keep the interest going -- and one sequence that raises the film to a level many better films never dream of attaining.

June 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

While much of this film is intriguing and nicely performed, it also feels rather strained and corny.

May 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Copying Beethoven, (Klang der Stille)

I was lucky enough to watch this movie way back in the summer (it just recently became available for review on Flixster.) The cut I saw was allegedly a "rough-cut" that would require some more editing and tinkering-with (depending on audience input and feedback.) I must say, though, that the version we all saw way back in June seemed very much complete and painted a splendid picture of a film that was well-developed, cast and directed. Ed Harris gave a brilliant performance as the troubled composer.

The film may be seen as rehash (how many Beethoven films can there be?, etc.), but Harris' performance alone is what solidifies this movie as and makes it stand out from, say, Immortal Beloved; in which Gary Oldham's portrayal was a bit more off-putting and creepy. Diane Kruger also gives a noteworthy performance as Beethoven's composing assistant. She brings a resilience to a character that shouldn't even exist, given the sexist divisions and gender role issues that existed in that era.

The film is shot beautifully and its cinematography is brilliant. The art direction gushes with lush sets and decor and the score is very much appropriate for a movie in which a score should not overpower the music that its subject matter is directly dealing with (in this case Beethoven's own compositions.) Ed Harris definitely deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Actor (although it probably won't happen.) Definitely catch it if you can. It's worth searching for it.
January 29, 2013

Super Reviewer

I can't give this one star. What a tremendous story! But what horrific casting. Seriously, the person in charge of casting should be drawn and quartered -- and I wouldn't even wish that on Mel Gibson. If only John Cusack had been at the meeting, with some kind of pen or a blunt instrument, where they picked the casting director, things could have been so much different. I don't want to do a blow-by-blow with this, but I want to suggest one "remake" change, for the future. If Ben Kingsley is still available when they do this again -- and because it's a great story, they should --, I want him cast as Wenzel Schlemmer. This "actor" is the most egregiously cloying of the bunch. If Kingsley can't do it, I vote for Tom Hulce. For either one, the Oscar for best supporting actor would be assured, and you can't beat the symmetry -- my own strange notion of symmetry -- of this idea. Flixsters, this one is a definite pass until they get it right.
January 29, 2013

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Copying Beethoven" starts in Vienna, 1824 when Beethoven's(Ed Harris) Ninth Symphony is days away from its premiere and the compositions still need to be copied. Herr Schlemmer(Ralph Raich) asks for the best compositionist and is surprised when Anna Holtz(Diane Kruger) answers the summons but she soon proves herself capable as Beethoven proves himself a giant pain as he is now almost deaf.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Copying Beethoven" is an inconsistent, cartoonish, and simplistic take on the last years of Beethoven's life. This is material that was already covered better in "Immortal Beloved." And anything that the film might say about art versus commerce was already said in "Amadeus."[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]The casting of Ed Harris might have looked good on paper but he is actually horribly miscast, doing a passable John Billingsley impression. The problem is that his persona is too contemporary for this kind of period piece.(By the way, has anybody heard from Klaus Maria Braundauer lately?) Diane Kruger may have the face of an angel but little else going for her. [/font]
December 4, 2007
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Klang der Stille- Copying Beethoven (DE)
  • Copying Beethoven (UK)
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