Copying Beethoven


Agnieszka Holland’s account of the last year of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life tells the fictional, quasi-feminist story of Anna Holtz (Diane Kruger), a capable copyist and amateur composer assigned to work with the notoriously difficult maestro (Ed Harris). Copying Beethoven is even more risible—and boring—than the 1994 Gary Oldman-as-Beethoven biopic Immortal Beloved, although it does feature one moment of inspired silliness in which Holtz actually ghost-conducts the premiere of the Ninth Symphony. Kruger is merely a pretty cipher as the young copyist, but Harris adds another strong portrayal of a bestial, neurotic genius to his 2000 turn as Jackson Pollock. (Up next: Ed Harris is Judy Garland?) Unfortunately, he is let down by a pedestrian script and Holland’s uninspired direction.