English actor and raconteur Stephen Fry explores his passion for history’s most controversial composer, Richard Wagner. Can he salvage Wagner’s music from its association with Hitler? Animated by Fry’s trademark wit and intelligence and set against the backdrop of Germany's annual Bayreuth Festival, this is a provocative yet enjoyable introduction to the life and legacy of one of music’s most complicated geniuses.
“****! With an enthusiasm as genuine as it is infectious, actor Stephen Fry investigates his fondness for the imperial 19th-century opera of Richard Wagner. Fry details his enthusiasm for the composer’s technically and emotionally complex art with a fan’s passion and a scholar’s insight. More impressive, however, is Fry’s candid confrontation of the profound disrepute bestowed on Wagner by Hitler’s affinity for his work. In honestly questioning whether his Wagner 'fanboyishness' is a betrayal of his Jewishness, Fry uses his film as a means not just of celebration but of thorny cultural-historical analysis.” – Time Out
“An exuberant and deeply personal documentary about the allure and the legacy of the German composer's work. A charming and thoughtful guide, Fry wrestles with a number of essentially unanswerable questions: What happens when great art springs from a mind that also gave quarter to reprehensible ideology? And is it OK to love music whose beauty and power has been harnessed, even tangentially, in the service of human evil? Those questions don't sit lightly on Fry's affably broad shoulders. But somehow, without soft-pedaling the nastier angles of Wagner's life and legacy, 'Wagner & Me' lands on the side of joy and defiance.” — Stephanie Zacharek, NPR