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.
Like a grand opera, Bel Canto weaves many stories into one sweeping epic.
Los Angeles Times/Kimber Myers
Swelling with humanity and romance like the crescendo of an aria, “Bel Canto” is a moving meditation on the power of love, music and proximity.
Entertainment Weekly/Leah Greenblatt
Director Paul Weitz is mostly known for lighter, more observational stories like "About a Boy" and "Mozart in the Jungle," and the strongest moments in Bel Canto are the small ones.
Hollywood Reporter/Stephen Farber
The film benefits from the fine cast and from many sharp and poignant moments. It's an impressive achievement technically as well.
What makes every iteration of Bel Canto such a richly rewarding journey is the gradual evolution of its characters, who begin to form a makeshift family as the outside world grows more distant with every passing hour.
Eye For Film/Jennie Kermod
A song for all those caught up in conflicts that overwhelm their dreams, Bel Canto is lyrical, melodic, melancholy.