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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Amadeus (1984)



Reviews and Comments

Amadeus is the story of court composer Antonia Salieri and his jealous rivalry with the better composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It works on a level of pure entertainment, but as a character study, it is phenomenal. The relationship between the two men is complex: Salieri is gifted enough to appreciate great music but not quite enough to compose it, although his works are respectable. Consequently, he is arguably the person closest to Mozart who truly recognizes his genius. But he hates the man: Mozart, here, is portrayed as a juvenile, irresponsible, crude boy with the most irritating giggle imaginable. This fascinating relationship culminates in a beautiful multi-layered scene of great power: Mozart, too sick to write his own compositions out, dictates to Salieri, who would just as soon see Mozart dead but can't help but to be a part of the creation of a masterwork. F. Murray Abraham, playing Salieri, well deserved the Oscar he won for the performance.

There is a lot more than this character dynamic going on in the film, too. It has a great understanding of society and art, and of human nature. It would not make sense to try to touch on everything in a review; suffice it to say that there is a lot going on in this film, above and beneath the surface.