Beethoven Lives Upstairs, a live-action period piece about a little boy (Illya Woloshyn) who befriends Beethoven (Neil Munro) seems intended to turn children on to the great 19th century German composer’s work. More likely, it will turn them off to classical music altogether. Young children will be frightened by this manic music man: Beethoven is shown as a lunatic neighbor who plays music all the time, screaming and throwing things at anyone who dares to interrupt him. Older children will be bored by the slow-moving storyline, which involves only Beethoven and the boy learning to get along.
To make matters worse, the performances are stilted, most of Beethoven’s exquisite music is used as mere background, and too much time is wasted on strained commentary about the musical life (”Composers are made of fire”). It’s all enough to make Beethoven roll over, again. D