The Phantom of the Opera
Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running Broadway play, the story unfolds as an opera company in the 1870s faces turmoil with new owners, and Carlotta, a temperamental diva (Minnie Driver), walks out during rehearsals at the Parisian opera house. The film embellishes the story with flashbacks that help viewers understand the tormented phantom (Gerard Butler) obsessed with the beautiful Christine (Emmy Rossum), an extremely talented soprano secretly tutored by the mysterious, masked stranger. The phantom lives beneath the theater and watches Christine’s every move from the rafters. Christine steps into the lead and becomes an instant star, attracting the attention of her childhood sweetheart, Raoul (Patrick Wilson), and drawing the jealousy of the phantom, which wreaks havoc and eventually destroys the elegant opera house. This breathtakingly beautiful fantasy will mesmerize those who enjoy magnificent music, mystery and romance.
This film is based on the wildly popular “Phantom of the Opera” play produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the mid 1980’s. The leads in this film are Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, who replace the stage duo of Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. Both Butler and Rossum do a fantastic job. Singing isn’t Butler’s strength, but he is adequate and his phantom has a strong and charismatic presence. He chews up the scenery and does a very credible job. On the other hand, singing is something which Emmy Rossum does very well. She makes a very convincing ingénue and helps carry the film.
The music is great and it is understandable why the original soundtrack sold zillions of copies. Unfortunately for our Dove family viewers, we cannot award our Dove Seal to the film as it contains brief male rear nudity. A man mocks the diva Carlotta by dropping his drawers. There is also a hanging scene which is brief but it would be unnerving for many viewers. Although the Phantom curses Christine when she privately removes his mask, he in fact loves her and commits a sacrificial act in the end. I personally thought there were a lot of positive elements in this film, including Schumacher’s lavish direction, but this one was a near miss.