Bel Canto

Critics Consensus

Bel Canto's reach occasionally exceeds its ambitious grasp in terms of juggling themes and tones, but it's held together by palpable emotion and a pair of strong leads.



Reviews Counted: 45

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User Ratings: 107


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

Based on Ann Patchett's best-selling novel, BEL CANTO is a dramatic love story that follows a famous soprano (Julianne Moore) who travels to a military dictatorship in South America to give a private concert at a party for a wealthy Japanese industrialist (Ken Watanabe). Just as the glittering gathering of diplomats and politicians convenes, the mansion is taken over by a guerrilla rebel group demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades. Threats are made, lives are lost, a tense negotiation begins, and a month long standoff ensues. While they are confined to the house, the hostages and their captors, who speak different languages, are forced to find ways to communicate. Music, especially the beautiful arias performed by Moore's character, a songbird in captivity, sparks a shared sense of comradeship and even love, uniting the disparate housemates as they form unexpected bonds, overcome their differences, and discover their shared humanity.

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Julianne Moore
as Roxanne Coss
Ken Watanabe
as Katsumi Hosokawa
Christopher Lambert
as Simon Thibault
Thorbjørn Harr
as Christopf

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Critic Reviews for Bel Canto

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (14)

  • Watanabe and Moore acquit themselves well (although the latter's lip-syncing is questionable), but Bel Canto falls short of the operatic notes Weitz attempts to hit.

    Oct 25, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The climax, almost lyrical in its brutality, packs an emotional punch that will leave audiences breathless.

    Oct 25, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • No one loves or dies without purpose in this searing and artful film.

    Sep 20, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The film empathetically shows its characters' humanity and the unlikely relationships that develop between captor and captive, as political, linguistic and socioeconomic barriers break down amid their close quarters and shared awe for the music.

    Sep 19, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Though Moore and Watanabe are the main focus, Bel Canto delivers the emotional payoff of a well-developed ensemble film.

    Sep 17, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

    Jude Dry

    Top Critic
  • Moore, like an upmarket version of Lina Lamont, in "Singin' in the Rain," lip-synchs convincingly to the sound of Renée Fleming. But not quite convincingly enough.

    Sep 17, 2018 | Full Review…

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