Immortal Beloved (1994) was written and directed by Bernard Rose, and it is one of those films I’ve wanted to do a post on for forever, and yet somehow the very thought of trying to tackle it is so daunting that I’ve started and stopped writing this at least a dozen times. You’d think that, because I love it so much, it would make things easier for me to write about, but honestly, my writing is motivated by a barely contained rage, so when it comes to something I love, it’s damn near impossible for the words to flow. Even in contrast to Rose’s horrifically bad Devil’s Violinist, it’s like there’s nothing about Immortal Beloved that is worthy of comparison because it’s too damn perfect.
How perfect is it? Let me list the ways:
1. The Costumes – Maurizio Millenotti
Millenotti, who was responsible for the amazing costumes in the 1997 Anna Karenina, designed some of the most beautiful early 19th-century outfits I’ve yet seen put to film. The details are just fantastic.
2. Gary Oldman – Ludwig van Beethoven
Do I even need to explain this one?
3. Isabella Rossellini – Anna Marie Erdödy
I have been obsessed with her since I first laid eyes on her in Death Becomes Her. I love it when the Countess finally goes back to her roots and starts kickin’ it old school in the Russian wilderness.
3. Valeria Golino – Giulietta Guiccardi
Gah. SHE. IS. SO. PRETTY. And she gets the best dresses in the entire film.
4. Miriam Margolyes – Nanette Streicherová
She plays the biddiest of biddies. I love EVERYTHING about her look. It’s flawless biddy perfection!
5. Jeroen Krabbé – Anton Felix Schindler
I just want to run my hands through his hair. Is that so wrong?
6. Johanna ter Steege – Johanna Reiss
Yeah, she’s the least shiny out of all of Beethoven’s theoretical “beloveds,” but she was also The One! The angst! The tension! The regret! I adore her.
7. Bernard Rose -Elector Max Friedrich
Yep, the director himself in a brief scene where he plays the Elector of Cologne listening to the young Beethoven perform.
I could go on and on, but really, just save me the typing and watch the film. It’s pure deliciousness.
What’s your favorite thing about Immortal Beloved and why is it Gary Oldman?