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.

47%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 73

46%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 124

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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.

Cast

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

News & Interviews for Bel Canto

Critic Reviews for Bel Canto

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (39)

  • This is emotionally affecting at times, but writer-director Paul Weitz... adopts a prosaic approach that abandons the source novel's lyrical persuasions.

    March 4, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Stinky is the only word to describe this earnest thriller in which a famous American opera singer learns life lessons (and gets jiggy) in a hostage crisis.

    April 28, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It's the world-famous soprano Renée Fleming, and Moore is lip-syncing. And the effect is horrific. It's like a drag act, but not. And it's the final nail in the coffin of sweet intention and witless execution.

    April 26, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • In Bel Canto, the tension is barely there to start with.

    April 25, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Even Moore seems quite stranded, given little chance to animate her character except as an unenviable technical exercise.

    April 25, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It's overripe and improbable, but you'd need a flinty heart to resist the message of solidarity, that if you spend time with someone, anyone, you'll find common ground.

    April 25, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Guardian
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bel Canto

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