Making the Grades
After playing in 100 cities and bringing in over 3 billion dollars in box office receipts, The Phantom of the Opera is now targeting movie ticket sales. Adapting his musical for the camera, Andrew Lloyd Webber along with Director Joel Schumacher have created a film version of the world's largest-grossing stage production.
Bringing in a new cast for the movie, The Phantom of the Opera stars Gerald Butler as the ghostly form who haunts the Paris Opera House. He slips unnoticed through the musty passages and dank corridors where he lives beneath the stage, bullying the cast and crew of the production house by demanding money and threatening harm to those who contradict him.
Then the disfigured recluse notices a young orphan named Christine (Emmy Rossum) who has been brought in to study with the chorus by ballet mistress, Madame Giry (Miranda Richardson). Charmed by the girl's beauty and voice, he secretly becomes her musical mentor.
His chance to showcase his protegee comes when the opera's attention-seeker lead soprano Carlotta (Minnie Driver) storms off of the stage during one of her frequent tantrums. Stepping up to the spotlight, Christine enchants the other performers as well as the paying customers. But none are so mesmerized as Raoul (Patrick Wilson), the theater's patron and a childhood companion of Christine's.
Reunited, the two friends are soon madly in love. But their romance only infuriates the increasingly possessive Phantom. Driven by jealousy, he kidnaps Christine and drags her down into his dark lodgings in the sewers. There she is forced to make a terrible decision.
Parents who haven't had the chance or inclination to take their children to the opera may find this musical experience a good way to introduce their family to the art form. The well-known songs of the stage production act as the script for this finely executed performance that is sure to capture the attention of many older children.
A brief "mooning" incident by one of the actors, backstage drinking and several acts of violence by the Phantom (including a strangulation and hanging) are the most serious content concerns families will want to consider.
Set in the rollicking heyday of the French opera house, the tragic tale of the talented but tormented loner unfolds through grayed depictions of the present and brilliant full-color memories of the past. While happiness seems eternally out of reach for the Phantom, this celluloid adaptation at least makes his story more accessible to those of us living off Broadway.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Phantom of the Opera.
Why is the Phantom a tragic figure? Do his life experiences make him destined to be one? Who shows compassion to him and how?
The Phantom is a brilliant composer and musical mentor. How does his disfigurement hamper him from using his talents? Is his physical deformity the only handicap that challenges him?
What does Christine learn about love? How do emotions like jealousy, possessiveness and control factor into real feelings of affection?