When patients' rights lawyer Colette Hughes goes to meet her new client, Eleanor Riese, a patient in the psychiatric unit of a San Francisco hospital, she has no idea that besides taking on... See full summary »
Helena Bonham Carter,
This is a meretricious and pretentious piece of kitsch.
The artistic faults are not the filmmakers, nor the actors, because the film is a perfectly well-made piece of middle-brow entertainment. The moral and artistic failure lies in the writing. Not even Renee Fleming's signature piece, 'Song to the Moon', as mimed by Moore, can amend the dreadful experience of this film.
Firstly the title which does not refer to the style of bel canto opera, nor is there a piece of Donizetti or Bellini through which it could string a reason in order to use the term. There is not much singing of any kind apart from Puccini's 'Vissi d'arte', another typical name-checking aria which makes it clear that the use of bel canto is a silly irrelevant borrowing in order to add a vestige of style.
Then there is the drama itself which follows a predictable and sentimental course in which the leads fall for each other. Their bond is abbreviated, and it is not polite to say how, but it is a piece of deliberate and unsubtle manipulation, as well as very hackneyed plotting which ought to have been excised before it had been written.
Of course, as is the nature with this comforting vacuous work, love strives to conquer all, and all the struggles by the protagonists are in the name of love. This bromide, this stupefyingly simplistic nonsense, is incapable of providing drama beyond the stale and bland product it is.
It pretends to assume a form of drama with guns and noble gestures and a conflict of ideas but that pseudo battle and tragedy is elided with Dvorák's song. It's probable that the meaning of that song in the opera Rusalka evaded the understanding of all involved too.
For real bel canto drama, Donizetti's Tudor Queens operas (Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena and Roberto Devereux) are much better.
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