Amadeus

AFI Rank: #53
Year Released: 1984
Director: Milos Forman
Actors: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge

There are AFI top 100 movies that I watch once because I feel I should. There are movies I watch several times because they're involving. And then there are movies I own because they are immensely powerful. Amadeus is definitely one that I own, and one that I highly encourage others to watch several times if not own.

Nearly 3 hours long, Amadeus is a work of art. There are numerous of Mozart's works on display here, not only with the gorgeous music, but put into a context. You can see why Mozart created these works and how they were received. You see the sets, see the environments they were put on within. Yes, you can argue about whether Mozart had that kind of laugh or whether he behaved the way the movie claims he did. But that's all beside the point. We'll never really know. What we DO know is the fantastic works of art he created, and how they are experienced when put on by a high quality orchestra, presented in full sound and color.

What's amazing is that the main actor here, F. Murray Abraham, isn't even playing Mozart. He's the antagonist, Salieri, whose only desire in life is to create beautiful music for God. When he sees how short his talents are compared with Mozart, and what a disappointment Mozart is in so many other ways, he makes it his quest in life to take Mozart down. What follows is heartbreaking.

There are so many little touches in the story that catch at you. The way Mozart is oblivious to how he's hurting Salieri when he has fun embellishing the march. To him it's simple child's play to make the march more interesting. The way he has fun playing upside down and backwards. He enjoys his gift. He feels lonely that few understand him.

On the down side, there were many important women involved in this situation who are barely touched on. Salieri's obsession is a talented opera singer. And then there's Mozart's wife. She keeps him afloat, takes action to save the family at several points, and yet the ONLY time in the entire movie that a woman talks with another woman is when Mozart's wife briefly asks her new maid (Cynthia Dixon of Sex in the City fame) to please step outside. That's it! It's 99% about men.

Still, a minor point when the star of this movie is really the music. I could play this in the background and just absorb the gorgeous music being presented. Highly recommended as a movie to connect a wealth of people with music the might not have been drawn to otherwise.

Rating: 5/5

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