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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Beethoven's ornery, self-aggrandizing personality is tolerated by workers and relatives because he's a genius and because he supports them financially.
Violence & Scariness
Some drunken antics (falling down and bellowing); Beethoven breaks a model bridge with his cane.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Verbal sexual allusions; passionate kissing between an engaged couple; Beethoven undresses in front of a female copyist and moons her; nephew touches Anna's breasts, assuming she's his uncle's prostitute; references to bodily functions (peeing).
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Relatively mild, infrequent language ("s--t," "filthy bastard").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and rowdy drunkenness.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that most kids probably won't be interested in this period romantic drama, which deals with mature, somewhat abstract themes -- art, aging, inspiration, and originality. It focuses on a passionate, if chaste, relationship between the aging Beethoven and a young woman who works for him. The film includes some general vulgarities (references to bodily functions, filth, rats), a few occasions when Beethoven is drunk and unruly, and scenes featuring his dissolute nephew gambling and behaving badly (he grabs Anna's breasts). Characters argue loudly, and Anna cries when Beethoven berates her. Occasional mild language ("s--t" is the worst of it). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Copying Beethoven offers occasional enchantments, but it leans too heavily on stiff explanatory dialogue, usually filtered through the awkward role of the copyist. Anna serves as that most obvious of movie devices -- an audience stand-in. She's by turns awed, upset, and/or put off by Beethoven's broadly abusive persona.
While the pair's back-and-forthing is mostly mundane, their partnership leads to a spectacular scene in which Beethoven conducts the Ninth for the first time in public. Though he can't hear it, Anna conducts it from within the orchestra -- he can copy her copying him. With glorious music and a cascade of dissolving frames, the scene is easily the film's highlight, underscoring its point: that copying is a form of art in itself, a way to refine, alter, and make art again.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate