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In Search of Beethoven

In Search of Beethoven (2009)



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

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.


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

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.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 238

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Movie Info

Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) narrates this straightforward documentary account of the life of composer Ludwig van Beethoven, covering all the major highlights from his birth in 1770 through his death in 1827. Writer-director Phil Grabsky skirts around the option of dramatic period reenactments, and instead opts for an impressionistic approach. He builds much of the film around the basic foundational material of interviews and studio performances of the great man's work by artists


Musical & Performing Arts, Documentary

Phil Grabsky

Apr 27, 2010

Seventh Art Productions - Official Site External Icon

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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.

January 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop 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.

December 17, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Illuminating bio of musical genius hits a few flat notes.

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source:

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

June 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Threat
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.

April 1, 2010 Full Review

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."

January 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: The Australian
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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

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

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (Australia)
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...

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
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

October 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

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

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
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.

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

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

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
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

September 23, 2009 Full Review Source:

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