Wes Anderson's new movie showcases impeccable set design, perfectly manicured dialog and a sweet confection of sights and sounds--not to mention the brilliant ensemble cast. It's probably Anderson's most fully-realized picture, from the inception of its plot to the self-referential pastiche of its production values. Ralph Fiennes gives a wonderfully varied and nuanced performance that is both polished and giddy. The absurd humor that is Wes Anderson's trademark lends itself to one of his funniest, most heartfelt and emotionally-tinged narratives. Simply put, it's A must-see!
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.
I loved every minute of this romantic portrayal of one history's lesser-known geniuses. The film poses lots of questions about the origin of talent; the will to fight in its defense; and the way your talent is perceived because of your gender. A great performance by capable youth Marie Féret, in the title role.