December 16th would have been Beethoven's 250th birthday. As part of our 2020 special programming before the pandemic we had scheduled a series of films titled In Search of Great Composers which was to conclude with a documentary titled Concerto: A Beethoven Journey this month. We have that programming on hold until we can resume operations. So our next Rialto Recommends is the Bernard Rose's 1995 film IMMORTAL BELOVED which stars Gary Oldman as Ludwig van Beethoven. IMMORTAL BELOVED chronicles the life of infamous classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven (Gary Oldman) and his painful struggle with hearing loss. Following Beethoven's death in 1827, his assistant, Schindler (Jeroen Krabbé), searches for an elusive woman referred to in the composer's love letters as "immortal beloved." As Schindler solves the mystery, a series of flashbacks reveals Beethoven's transformation from passionate young man to troubled musical genius. While the historical accuracy of the film is debatable there was significant praise for Oldman's performance. The New York Times said "[Oldman] captures Beethoven as a believably brilliant figure struggling with his deafness and other demons. His performance combines bitterness and eccentricity with the deep romanticism that can be heard in the music." While the San Francisco Chronicle said "[Gary Oldman] at first might seem an eccentric choice for Beethoven -- until you realize that only an eccentric choice would have been appropriate. Oldman presents us with a vulnerable, erratic, wigged-out Beethoven." IMMORTAL BELOVED is available to rent for a modest fee from Amazon, Vudu, Apple, GooglePlay, YouTube and others.