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In Search of Beethoven (2009)

In Search of Beethoven

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: With a wealth of insightful talking heads and deft musical performances, In Search of Beethoven is a thorough, thoughtful examination of the great composer's life and times.

92%
Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: With a wealth of insightful talking heads and deft musical performances, In Search of Beethoven is a thorough, thoughtful examination of the great composer's life and times.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 242

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Movie Info

"In Search of Beethoven": takes a comprehensive look at the composer's life through historical research and Beethoven's biography and letters, but with the emphasis always on the performance -- and interpretation -- of Beethoven's music. From his early piano concertos through the "Moonlight Sonata," "Für Elise," and the immortal notes of the Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, Beethoven's music remains as beloved, popular, and relevant as any work of art has ever been. "In Search of Beethoven" brings … More

Rating:
Unrated
Genre:
Musical & Performing Arts , Documentary
Directed By:
Written By:
Phil Grabsky
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Apr 27, 2010
Runtime:
Seventh Art Productions - Official Site


Cast


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Critic Reviews for In Search of Beethoven

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (3)

Tells the story of its subject in a clear, accessible, and gimmick-free manner while still preserving, or perhaps even cultivating, a core sense of wonder at the creative monuments he bequeathed to us all.

Full Review… | January 7, 2010
Boston Globe
Top Critic

In Search of Beethoven trudges through the composer's life and works, pausing along the way for the usual smorgasbord of talking heads and performance clips. The results are shapeless, drab and mostly predictable.

Full Review… | December 17, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

With In Search of Beethoven, documentarian Phil Grabsky has created a splendid work that will be a revelation to the uninitiated and a joy to music lovers.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Grabsky's appreciation of Ludwig van Beethoven follows the familiar contours, but it pays attention to the humanizing specifics that bring us closer to the subject.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Grabsky does manage to convey how shockingly dramatic Beethoven's music seemed to the first people who heard it, and the musicians' sensitivity and articulation--both verbal and musical -- fire this chronicle of one man's extraordinary artistic journey.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

What made Ludwig such a great musician? The documentary In Search of Beethoven, directed by Phil Grabsky, answers that question reasonably well.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

Illuminating bio of musical genius hits a few flat notes.

Full Review… | December 31, 2010
sbs.com.au

Puts far more focus on a Wikipedia-shallow explanation of the composer's various compositions than on his tumultuous life.

Full Review… | June 2, 2010
Film Threat

[Grabsky] is documenting the life of Beethoven, he is illustrating the life with brilliant concert performers playing the music, but he is also having those same experts talking about what is in the music itself.

Full Review… | April 1, 2010
rec.arts.movies.reviews

An intriguing portrait of the man as a hopeless romantic, a smack-talking punk, a sickly individual tormented by his deafness and thoughts of suicide, and an "eternal optimist."

Full Review… | January 7, 2010
Boston Phoenix

There are too many snippets of music, too many talking heads, too little to define that great arc of the composer's life and spiritual development. But no one who cares about the man and his music will miss it. For that I give credit to its subject.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
The Australian

Beethoven's creative life, with all its achievements, cannot easily be reconciled with the image of a difficult, solitary figure, shadowed by depression. Grabsky, to his credit, doesn't try to make one life fit the other, but manages to illuminate both.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
The Age (Australia)

As good as the film is, Beethoven remains mysterious. He refuses to roll over, so to speak.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Sydney Morning Herald

Despite its excessive length, this reverential doco will enthuse fans, historians and even those, like yours truly, whose familiarity with Beethoven is limited to the opening strains of his 5th Symphony.

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
Sunday Times (Australia)

It features over sixty live performances, and there are a few pompous musicians and musicologists among the interviewees. But the engaging ones comfortably outnumber them...

Full Review… | October 30, 2009
FILMINK (Australia)

Just as Beethoven's composing process is equated to that of a sculptor like Michelangelo, Grabsky has sculpted a mesmerising film ripe with crescendos and modulations that allow us an even greater appreciation of the man's music

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Urban Cinefile

A well-researched documentary that's equally illuminating and captivating.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
NYC Movie Guru

After the monotonous guide through history that was In Search of Mozart, Phil Grabsky's follow-up plays like a much-needed shot of adrenaline to the brain.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Slant Magazine

A visual biography that employs scores of live performances reimagining the masterâ(TM)s infinite range -- from raging to ethereal.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
Boxoffice Magazine

A perfect companion piece to "In Search of Mozart". A fully realized introduction to the man and his music that makes you want to listen to his entire body of work even if you think you have become jaded by one too many performances of the Moonlight Sonat

Full Review… | September 23, 2009
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