In Search of Beethoven

2009, Documentary, 2h 19m

41 Reviews 250+ Ratings

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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. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

The life story of Beethoven with live musical performances.

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Critic Reviews for In Search of Beethoven

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (38) | 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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • Where In Search of Beethoven excels is in the details. For all the grandness of Beethoven's music, the documentary makes a real effort to present Beethoven the man as fairly and unsentimentally as possible.

    September 23, 2020 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…
  • Dispensing with all the cliched claptrap and generalisations that inevitably plague movies like this, Grabsky successfully reassesses and revitalises the imposing reputation of his subject.

    September 23, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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