For this week's Movie Minutes, KUNR entertainment reviewer Robin Holabird looks at a new film that hopes to help everyone fall in love — with opera.
With a series of well-established tunes, the movie Falling for Figaro might qualify as a jukebox musical - except all its hummable hits come from operas. Perfect for those who love playing the toreador song from Carmen or “Nessun Dorma” from Turnadot or Mozart’s variations that led to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” Falling for Figaro insists that anyone can appreciate opera — from wildly successful young fund managers to barflies in Scottish pubs.
Director Ben Lewin joins co-writer Allen Palmer in creating a story that adds a twist of class to typical rom-com antics. As the genre suggests, our heroine gets by well enough, but without the energetic verve that finding the right purpose and partner provide.
Played by Danielle MacDonald, Millie makes loads of money in glamorous London and enjoys her gorgeous boyfriend, but she wants to sing opera. So she dumps her current life to pursue the goal by taking lessons from a grumpy former diva (who by rom-com rules, also teaches a handsome young singer). Now, figure out what happens. The journey, not the destination, matter most, and the combination of sprite pacing, likeable stars and beautiful music add pleasure to the path.
Well attuned to throwing caustic wit into the mix from her days on the Absolutely Fabulous series, Joanna Lumley nails the challenge of putting viewers on her side, despite her often obnoxious behavior as the one-time diva. As the lead, MacDonald, whose credits include key roles in Dumplin’ and Bird Box, shines with agreeable warmth as Millie. And the second Mama Mia movie’s Hugh Skinner provides both looks and musical manners.
Throw in standout scenery from the Highlands of Scotland and Falling for Figaro hits the right notes for rom-com fun. The movie started streaming October 1 with limited theatrical release.
Robin Holabird is KUNR's entertainment reviewer, author and former film commissioner for the Nevada Film Office. You can check out all of her reviews here.