The Phantom of the Opera

Director: Joel Schumacher

Cast: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Callow, Victor McGuire, Jennifer Ellison, Murray Melvin, Kevin McNally, James Fleet, Imogen Bain, Miles Western, Judith Paris, Halcro Johnston, Paul Brooke, Chris Overton, Jesika Cannon, Annabel Porter, Jose Tirado

A black and white opening scene segues into a visually splendid and atmospheric moment when the screen turns to color and the Paris Opera House is brought to life. Christine Daae (Rossum) is a beautiful chorus girl that lives in the shadow of opera prima donna Carlotta (Driver). A mysterious influence haunts the opera. The caped Phantom (Butler) threatens unimaginable disasters if his commands are not obeyed. Young Christine (Emmy Rossum was 16 years old during filming) is unexpectedly thrust into a lead part by the new theater managers, Firmin (Hinds) and Andre (Callow). When her moment comes, Christine is stunning in a white diaphanous dress and sings with a clear and beautiful voice. Handsome and aristocratic, Raoul de Chagny (Wilson), is charmed by Christine and becomes her suitor. The Phantom is a musical genius that lives beneath the opera in underground chambers. Obsessed with Christine, his detailed knowledge of the building allows him to move about unchallenged. When the Phantom makes himself known to Christine he wears a mask that covers his disfigured face. She is deferential and weak-willed in his presence. The Phantom is a gifted but deranged megalomaniac. At times pathetic, he is a romantic idealist who seeks a love ultimately impossible to attain. The presence of Raoul enrages him. Dreamy and emotionally immature, Christine finds it difficult to make a clear choice between Raoul and the Phantom. The film captures the ambiance of Paris in the early 20th century. Spectacular scenes within the theater, in the Phantom’s underground cellars and dungeons, and in rooftops, provide the dramatic background that supports the development of the sense of whimsy required for the enjoyment of a musical. When Christine rips off the Phantom’s mask and for the first time sees his deformed face she sets off a sequence of events that changes the lives of all. Based on Andrew Lloyd Weber’s stage musical of the same name and on the novel Le Fantome de L’Opera by Gaston Leroux.

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