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Ricky & the Bois: A Love Letter to 10 Black Queer Film Characters

phantom der oper film 2005

Lackawanna Blues (2005), a film based on the life story of Ruben Santiago Jr., is a moving depiction of an unlikely family. The supporting cast elevates the story even further, especially Ricky (Adina Porter), one of cinema’s most vital Black queer film characters.

As a Black queer person who’s still creating themselves, my interest was piqued by Ricky, a masculine-of-center woman, when I first watched the film. And while Ricky’s phenomenal, she’s also just one of the many magnificent Black queer characters in film that deserves their flowers. With this in mind, let’s take a look at 10 incredible Black queer characters — starting with the incomparable Ricky from Lackawanna Blues .

Ricky in Lackawanna Blues (2005)

Ricky is one of the smoothest people in the history of film. She’s a supporting character but from her first appearance in Lackawanna Blues , she commands attention. Her swagger is enviable. She’s bold, suave and debonair. It doesn’t matter that people are giving her a hard time. It doesn’t matter that the world makes it clear that her mere existence is unwelcome. 

phantom der oper film 2005

Not only was Ricky here — here over a decade ago, no less — but she was unashamed . While Lackawanna Blues primarily tells the story of a woman who runs a boarding house and the young boy she takes under her wing, the many memorable tenants make the film uniquely marvelous. Ricky is one of those tenants — not just an inspiring Black queer character in her own right, but part of the movie’s chosen family of sorts. 

Alike in Pariah (2011)

Alike (Adepero Oduye) is trying to find her way in a world that’s hostile to her very existence. On top of figuring out how to date, she’s juggling her friendships and dreams, all while trying to make space for a mother who doesn’t know how to love her. And, of course, Alike’s still discovering her sexuality, something she does in secret for the most part. 

phantom der oper film 2005

But Alike’s journey in Pariah , one of our favorite queer stories ever captured on film , leaves an impression in large part due to the courage and conviction Alike embodies. For some folks, taking on those traits is a fact of everyday life, and this incredible character illuminates the importance of forging your own path. 

Celie in The Color Purple (1985)

Although The Color Purple downplayed the relationship between Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) and Shug (Margaret Avery), their love story is revolutionary. Both on screen and in the pages of Alice Walker’s novel of the same name, Celie blooms in love, despite a past marked by abuse. In fact, her love for Shug is a bright spot in this otherwise gut-wrenching story. 

phantom der oper film 2005

Although other characters repeatedly harp on Celie, telling her she’s not desirable, she doesn’t crumble. Instead, she learns to stand up for herself, runs a business and thrives outside of her abusive upbringing and marriage. But she also doesn’t have to change to do so. While The Color Purple is certainly a heartbreaking film, the depiction of Celie finding herself and surviving is incredibly affirming, and that can’t be overlooked. 

Cleo in Set It Off (1996)

Set It Off is mired in tragedy, but the main characters’ friendship carries the audience through it all. Each of the women is incredible, but Cleo (Queen Latifah) commands our attention as an unapologetically masculine queer woman. 

phantom der oper film 2005

From her straight-back cornrows and white undershirt, to how she spoke and carried herself, Cleo oozed confidence and rugged masculinity. She embraces her girlfriend openly; her identity isn’t a source of conflict in the movie. Instead, it just is . And while she’s tough and cool, Cleo also has so much heart. 

Without a doubt, Cleo’s role in such a mainstream film helped showcase that womanhood is expansive, and that queerness isn’t something to hide. 

Joanne in Rent (2005)

A central character in the musical Rent , Joanne Jefferson has been portrayed by numerous actors on the stage, but Tracie Thom’s portrayal of the type-A character in the film adaptation is truly something to remember. Joanne navigates the corporate world, a band of free-spirited artists and her relationship with Maureen (Idina Menzel), a woman who’s difficult to pin down and understand. ( To say the least .)

phantom der oper film 2005

And although Joanne doesn’t necessarily do all of this gracefully, she reminds us that life is complicated — and that’s okay. At the same time, her character shows us that staying open to new possibilities often leads to a wealth of new experiences.

Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom , one of 2020’s best films , a recording session brings out conflict among bandmates. But at the heart of the band is the brilliant Ma Rainey (Viola Davis). 

phantom der oper film 2005

Ma is fully aware of what her talent is worth — and we don’t always get to see that kind of knowing confidence on screen. Not to mention, her business savvy and signature style are unforgettable. Ma Rainey embodies luxury and pleasure in a way that’s incredibly affirming, and illustrative of the fact that deep, profound joy is possible even during difficult times. 

Bessie Smith in Bessie (2015)

Ma Rainey’s protégé, Bessie Smith is a Black queer icon. In Dee Rees’ ( Mudbound , Pariah ) film, Queen Latifah portrays the blues legend with a breathtakingly beautiful and intimate approach. And that’s something we don’t often get to see when it comes to figures who’re so famous, so known . 

phantom der oper film 2005

But, here, the musician is more than just “The Empress of the Blues”. Bessie’s passion for life and her greatness — even in the face of shortcomings — challenges us to invite nuance into our understanding of others and ourselves. 

Cheryl in The Watermelon Woman (1996)

This widely celebrated film follows Cheryl, played by filmmaker Cheryl Dunye, as she attempts to make a film about a Black actress credited as “The Watermelon Woman”. While on this artistic journey, Cheryl falls for a customer (Guinevere Turner) at her day job. From there, the film touches on the intricacies of interracial relationships, Black art, white progressives and more. 

phantom der oper film 2005

Still, Cheryl — as a character — remains especially intriguing. She isn’t concerned about fitting into a masculine or feminine ideal. The filmmaker is goofy, curious and hopeful. Watching Cheryl awkwardly stumble toward a deeper understanding of herself — and her subject, The Watermelon Woman — can be both painful and humorous, but, no matter the case, she’s always endearing, entertaining and relatable. And that makes her one of cinema’s great Black queer film characters.

Chiron in Moonlight (2016)

The Oscar-winning Moonlight , written and directed by Barry Jenkins, centers on Chiron, a Black gay man from south Florida. Adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished and semi-autobiographical play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue , the film is a coming-of-age story in three acts. 

phantom der oper film 2005

There’s child (Alex Hibbert), teen (Ashton Sanders) and adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes); no matter the moment in his life, our protagonist is searching for belonging. But what’s perhaps most striking about Chiron is how he remains a sensitive — albeit guarded — person despite his transformation. 

Kena in Rafiki (2018)

Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki’s (Sheila Munyiva) budding romance is at the center of Wanuri Kahiu’s Kenyan drama Rafiki . In particular, there’s just something so striking and heartwarming — all at once — about Kena’s innocence and tenderness. As you might expect, Mugatsia’s performance is one of the must-see film’s major draws. 

phantom der oper film 2005

When Kena and Ziki grow closer, Kena’s status as “just one of the boys” comes under some scrutiny, opening up a conversation about how men accept her in male-dominated spaces in incredibly conditional ways. Kena’s navigation of public spaces, romantic and platonic relationships and her own identity all help to create a character whose journey stays with us long after the credits roll. 

phantom der oper film 2005

Rafiki is a great film to end on. Described as “ an Afro bubble gum film ” about “falling in love where it’s illegal” for queer people to do so openly, Rafiki is also full of a joy so particular to queer love — and discovering one’s self. That said, seeing Black queer people in films like Rafiki is crucial: these stories are a balm for people aching to see their realities reflected back to them on screen. 

Moreover, these characters, from Ricky to Kena, offer up an additional salve for those of us who’re continuously creating and discovering ourselves outside of the boundaries others might’ve established for us as young people. And, in many ways, the very existence of these Black queer film characters lays the groundwork for the future of Black artists and stories.


phantom der oper film 2005

  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews

The Phantom of the Opera

Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured and murderous musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House. A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured and murderous musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House. A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured and murderous musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House.

  • Joel Schumacher
  • Gaston Leroux
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Gerard Butler
  • Emmy Rossum
  • Patrick Wilson
  • 2.1K User reviews
  • 149 Critic reviews
  • 40 Metascore
  • See more at IMDbPro
  • 7 wins & 42 nominations total

Phantom of the Opera

  • The Phantom

Emmy Rossum

  • Madame Giry

Minnie Driver

  • (as Kevin R. McNally)

James Fleet

  • Carlotta's Maid

Miles Western

  • Carlotta's Wigmaker

Judith Paris

  • Carlotta's Seamstress

Paul Brooke

  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

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Moulin Rouge!

Did you know

  • Trivia The doll in the Phantom's lair that is supposed to resemble Emmy Rossum is not actually a wax mold. It is Emmy Rossum. The production produced a mask of her face to use on the mannequin but when they put in the fake eyes it didn't look like her. She suggested to stand in as the mannequin instead. This was done by her being made up like a doll with waxy makeup on, and her standing very, very still.
  • Goofs When Raoul is on his way down the stairs to the Phantom's lair, he falls through a hole, down into a pit of water. Iron bars then lower from above, but since Raoul fell straight down into the water, it would be impossible for the bars to be there.

[as he leads Christine down the tunnels of the opera]

The Phantom : [sings] Sing once again with me our strange duet. / My power over you grows stronger yet. / And though you turn from me to glance behind, / The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside your mind.

  • Connections Featured in HBO First Look: The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
  • Soundtracks Auction at the Opera Populaire, 1919 (Prologue) Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber , Charles Hart , and Richard Stilgoe Performed by Patrick Wilson Produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber , Nigel Wright , Joel Schumacher , Simon Lee , and Guy de Villiers

User reviews 2.1K

  • Dec 13, 2004

Everything New on Max in October


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  • January 21, 2005 (United States)
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera
  • London, England, UK
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  • $70,000,000 (estimated)
  • $51,293,931
  • Dec 26, 2004
  • $154,674,241

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  • Runtime 2 hours 23 minutes
  • Black and White
  • Dolby Digital

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Das Phantom der Oper


Wir schreiben das Jahr 1870: Die Pariser Oper wird von einem unheimlichen Phantom terrorisiert. Die Aufführungen des Hauses sollen nur noch nach seinen Willen inszeniert werden. Widersetzt man sich den Forderungen, geschieht ein Unglück. Nur das junge Chormädchen Christine ist vor den Anfeindungen des Maskenmannes sicher. Sie soll seine Muse werden, nur ihre Stimme wird seiner Vorstellung von Musik und seinen selbst komponierten Stücken gerecht. Das Phantom entführt Christine und hält sie in den Katakomben unter der Oper gefangen, wo sie nur noch für ihn singen soll. Doch Christines Jungendfreund Raoul gibt sie nicht auf und dringt bei der Suche nach seiner großen Liebe tief in das unterirdische Reich des Phantoms ein...


  • Seitenverhältnis ‏ : ‎ 16:9 - 2.35:1, 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Alterseinstufung ‏ : ‎ Freigegeben ab 6 Jahren
  • Produktabmessungen ‏ : ‎ 13,5 x 1,8 x 19,4 cm; 82 Gramm
  • Herstellerreferenz ‏ : ‎ 2462
  • Medienformat ‏ : ‎ PAL, DTS, Dolby, Surround-Sound
  • Laufzeit ‏ : ‎ 2 Stunden und 15 Minuten
  • Erscheinungstermin ‏ : ‎ 7. September 2005
  • Darsteller ‏ : ‎ Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver
  • Untertitel: ‏ : ‎ Deutsch
  • Sprache, ‏ : ‎ Deutsch (DTS), Deutsch (Dolby Digital 5.1), Englisch (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Concorde Video
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B000J20PEA
  • Herkunftsland ‏ : ‎ Deutschland
  • Anzahl Disks ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Nr. 171 in Musikfilm, Tanz & Theater (DVD & Blu-ray)
  • Nr. 1,032 in Kinder & Familie (DVD & Blu-ray)
  • Nr. 2,138 in Drama (DVD & Blu-ray)


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The Phantom of the Opera

2004, Musical/Drama, 2h 21m

What to know

Critics Consensus

The music of the night has hit something of a sour note: Critics are calling the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger. Still, some have praised the film for its sheer spectacle. Read critic reviews

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The phantom of the opera   photos.

From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Gerard Butler) schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae (Emmy Rossum). The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, strong-arms management into giving the budding starlet key roles, but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul (Patrick Wilson). Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Musical, Drama, Romance

Original Language: English

Director: Joel Schumacher

Producer: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Writer: Gaston Leroux

Release Date (Theaters): Jan 21, 2005  wide

Release Date (Streaming): Dec 27, 2011

Box Office (Gross USA): $51.2M

Runtime: 2h 21m

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production Co: Joel Schumacher Productions

Sound Mix: Surround, Dolby SRD, DTS, SDDS

Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.37:1)

Cast & Crew

Gerard Butler

The Phantom

Emmy Rossum

Patrick Wilson

Miranda Richardson

Madame Giry

Minnie Driver

Simon Callow

Ciarán Hinds

Jennifer Ellison

James Fleet

Victor McGuire

Murray Melvin

Paul Brooke

Laura Hounsom

Young Madame Giry

Chris Overton

Young Phantom

Imogen Bain

Carlotta's Maid

Miles Western

Carlotta's Wigmaker

Judith Paris

Carlotta's Seamstress

Halcro Johnston

Oliver Chopping

Alison Skilbeck

Nun , Nurse

Joel Schumacher

Gaston Leroux

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Jeff Abberley

Executive Producer

Julia Blackman

Keith Cousins

Louis Goodsill

Paul Hitchcock

Austin Shaw

Eli Richbourg


John Mathieson


Terry Rawlings

Film Editing

David Grindrod

Anthony Pratt

Production Design

John Fenner

Art Director

Celia Bobak

Set Decoration

Alexandra Byrne

Costume Design

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Critic Reviews for The Phantom of the Opera

Audience reviews for the phantom of the opera.

The Phantom of the Opera is a true masterpiece, it not only fully realizes the vision of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, but it also retains the spirit of the original novel. Newcomer Emmy Rossum gives a stunning performance as Christine, capturing the character's youth and innocence, and Gerard Butler's depicting of the Phantom embodies the character's tortured soul and disillusionment. The sets and costumes are also extraordinary, creating an immersive, fantastical world that's breathtaking. Yet the stylistic tone never overwhelms the story, but instead services to heighten its romanticism, and the themes of social alienation and artificial reality. Translating a musical to cinema is a difficult task, however not only does director Joel Schumacher succeed brilliantly, the visual style of The Phantom of the Opera excesses Webber's stage production.

phantom der oper film 2005

Thoroughly enjoyable.

It took them, like, 78 tries, but they finally got the musical version, which, in all fairness, didn't hit the stage until nearly 80 years after "Le Fantôme de l'Opéra" came out, but that still narrows the number of adaptations down to about 43 since 1986. Man, this novel has been adapted to death, then back again actually in the form of a phantom, then back to death again, but now, we've got ourselves a little twist... and no film adaptations since, so that should probably tell you about how well this film did with critics... even though it was a booming financial success and hit with audiences, though that's probably because the non-critic drama geeks likely didn't know about Joel Schumacher's filmography. Speaking of finally getting the musical version, this is certainly Joel Schumacher's big return to the magical world of musicals, only this time, he's actually dealing with white people problems instead of trying to be "that white guy" who does a black film, which is probably why this film got better reviews other than "Sparkle", which isn't to say that this film's reviews have been all that glowing. Man, I certainly don't agree with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus, but I love how it goes on and on about how the film is "histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger", and then they turn right around and basically say, "Oh yeah, but it looks pretty". I reckon the critics can't help but look at cheesiness in a Joel Schumacher film and not think of "Batman & Robin", and considering that Schumacher is nothing short of cheesy, whether it be on a "Batman & Robin" scale or whatever, I guess he'll continue to never catch a break, as sure as Emmy Rossum will clearly have a hard time breaking out as a major star, even with a hit this massive under her belt, and Gerard Butler will never catch a break when it comes to romance films of any kind. Man, that poor son of Scot just isn't doing it for the critics when it comes to romances and, well, that's good, because his romantic comedies deserve it. A film like this, on the other, regardless of what the critics say, is what Butler and Schumacher should be gunning more for. Still, make no mistake, this operatic opus hardly goes unhaunted. Now, we're talking about a Joel Schumacher-directed and written adaptation of a musical adaptation of a romantic drama dealing with an opera here, so it's not like you can't see corny coming, yet that hardly makes the cheesiness any less problematic, for although some fluffiness gets to be snappy, all too often, it's more along the lines of sappy, turning in some cornball set pieces and dialogue that momentarily take you out of the film, though perhaps not as much as much of the forced musicality. The musical aspects that drive this film heavily are indeed competently crafted enough to aid in the final product's being as rewarding as it is, yet the incorporation of the musical goes plagued by a bit of inorganic forcefulness that not only overwhelms certain set pieces with profound prominence of musicality that distances you from reality considerably, as well as over-the-top flashiness to exacerbate the already pretty well-established cheesy aspects, but leaves the plotting that should be built around the music rather than more along the lines of a slave to the musical aspects to come off as more awkwardly manufactured than fluid. The musicality's driving the plot along isn't quite as awkward as I expected, yet awkwardness is there, and common within the musical aspects, and with the musical aspects being so exceedingly prominent in the story structure, you better believe that this film's plotting is often rather problematic. Of course, on the handful of occasions in which plotting isn't driven by musicality, the film's storytelling is still flawed, being not necessarily terribly messy, but rather hurried and under-expository, which isn't to say that Joel Schumacher's directorial missteps end there. Schumacher's directorial efforts are indeed inspired, yet he remains a flawed director handed quite a bit to work with, thus he faults quite often, particularly when it comes to the dramatic aspects, which are generally effective, yet tainted with overblown histroinics that were undoubtedly found and evidently somewhat overlooked in Andrew Lloyd Webber's original play and Gaston Leroux's antecedent novel, yet goes particularly pronounced by the overambition within Schumacher's direction that only drowns out quite a bit of what Schumacher desperately strives to achieve. I'm not at all totally in agreement with the consensus' bold statement that this film fails to capture "both romance and danger", yet there is some spark lost in the midst of Schumacher's overambition, which brings more to light certain aspects of the source material's not translating quite as well as it should have to the silver screen, thus leaving the final product to stand rather short of full potential. Of course, what does make it to the cinematic world organically proves to be a graceful success, maybe not to where the shortcomings are obscured, though certainly to where the final product, as a whole, stands as genuinely rewarding, largely thanks to its, as put best by the consensus, "sheer spectacle". Boasting striking color, near-breathtaking flare and brilliant dynamicity, this film is, if nothing else, a masterpiece of art direction, with John Fenner and Paul Kirby translating Andew Lloyd Webber's spectacular with an abundance of graceful artistry to the thoroughly attractive visuals, complimented by John Mathieson's lushly handsome cinematography. As for the production designs by Anthony Pratt that the art direction compliments, they stand as nothing short of truly tremendous, as well, with Alexandra Byrne's costume designs being cleverly flashy and often memorably definitive of the characters behind the costumes, and Celia Bobak's set decoration being colorfully intricate and engrossingly sweeping in scale, thus truly bringing to life Webber's original vision's spectacle and musicality, which in turn helps greatly in bringing the film to life more than working to the film's detriment, which is saying a fair bit. Clocking in at 143 minutes and going handled by a storyteller who doesn't need substance driven by style to be a flawed storyteller, this film's narrative is told primarily, by a considerable margin, through musical numbers, and while that is certainly a delight to see on the stage, on screen, it often taints storytelling with a kind of awkward style-over-substance that throws off resonance and could very well distance investment, so if you're going to have the guts to make a film of this type, then you better have some powerful musical style, and, well, needless to say, considering the essentially unparalleled success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's original stage vision, this film delivers on upstanding musicality that, I must admit, gets to be a touch flawed, both as a storytelling component and as the holder of the ever so occasional improvable stylistic choice (Seriously, what in Senesino's name is up with that pop rock sound that pops in occasionally?), yet remains thoroughly impressive, with sweeping style and striking substance that both engrosses and entertains as it goes dazzlingly performed, both instrumentally and vocally, which isn't to say that fine singing is the only thing done right by the performers, or at least some of them. Minnie Driver is quite underused as Carlotta Giudicelli, and quite frankly, I'm surprised and a little upset to say that I'm glad, because although Driver has proven herself to be a competent actress, in this film, she slips up, turning in a terrible Spanish accent to make all the worse the overbearing overacting that makes her much more obnoxious than effective as the antagonist, and while no other performance proves to be that faulty, only so many people really standout, due to restraints in material, yet do expect to see quite a few charmers in the secondary or even tertiary cast, and quite a bit of compellingness within the lead cast. Gerard Butler's film-picking tastes have, at least in recent years, proven to be very faulty, and, quite honestly, his overacting self wasn't exactly all the commendable in something like "300", yet I would still consider him a reasonably promising talent who has his moments, with this film being one of his moments, for although he only has so much to work with, Butler captures the misery, mystery and dark depths of the titular and iconic Phantom character with engaging charisma and, towards the end, pretty powerful emotional range, while Patrick Wilson charms as our down-to-earth male protagonist, Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, and the very lovely leading lady Emmy Rossum compels as the both vulnerable and strong spirit as, Christine Daaé, the iconic center of a dark romance and danger. On-screen performances are hit-or-miss, yet generally work and keep this film going, and really, that's what you can say about a certain off-screen performance, for although Joel Schumacher has never really been all that strong of a director, and one who makes more than a few mistakes with his overambitious execution of this promising project, his palpable inspiration will give this film its fair share of moments of genuinely effective resonance, while keeping consistent in something of a smooth pacing that keeps you generally comfortable with the flow of the film, even with the storytelling mishaps. If nothing else, Schumacher delivers on thorough entertainment value, proving the consensus' statement that this film is "boring" to be particularly wrong by keeping everything lively and colorful, with occasions of true depth, and while such a formula has enough missteps to plague the film with shortcomings, it gets the final product by as a rewarding piece. Closing the curtains, it's hard to look back at this film and not recognize quite a bit of cheesiness in certain dialogue pieces, set pieces and histrionics, as well as a bit of awkwardness to forceful moments in the musicality and other distancing areas of storytelling, thus making for a flawed execution of a promising vision, yet one that still stands strong, supported by the stellar art direction by John Fenner and Paul Kirby, - complimented by striking cinematography by John Mathieson - and production designs by Anthony Pratt that compliment Andrew Lloyd Webber's upstanding musical numbers, which liven up a strong story, brought to life by a couple of charismatic performances - particularly those by our compelling leads - and the, albeit overambitious, yet generally engagingly inspired, smoothly-paced and entertaining direction that goes into making Joel Schumacher's adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera" an underrated and fairly worthwhile watch. 3/5 - Good

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the few enjoyable Joel Shumacher films, and whatever problems I had with this film, its still a fantastic musical. I have never seen the original Broadway musical so I may not be the best source for a review, but I have listened to these songs before, and I can tell that they did a fine job at making the songs on the big screen. One large problem I had the film was Gerard Butler, who I felt looked to handsome to be believable as the Phantom of the Opera. His singing voice was the only one I didn't enjoy in the film and its hard to explain but he just doesn't have the voice for a singer. They make his character out to be so hideous when really he just looks like he was given a terrible makeup artist, so I really did not find it believable that everyone would consider him some gross beast. Another problem I had is that I should fee a sense of fear from the Phantom, but they don't give us any thrills are questioning, just Gerard Butler running around in a mask. But I did find I loved the music and was really getting into it, and if I ever got to see the musical in its true form on Broadway I would definently do it. The setting and stage is incredible and everything about the films setting is gorcious, so they really made it all feel beautiful. Its trying to be a good musical and it succeeds, but I wasn't impressed by the cast or the character of the Phantom.

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phantom der oper film 2005

Das Phantom der Oper

phantom der oper film 2005

Das Phantom der Oper als Leinwandversion

Lange haben die Fans auf ein neues Film-Musical aus dem Hause Lloyd Webber gewartet. Nach „Cats“ und „Joseph“ fiel die Wahl auf „Das Phantom der Oper“.

Ähnlich wie in der Bühnenfassung wird die Geschichte des Operngeistes aus der Erinnerung von Raoul erzählt. Alles beginnt mit der Auktion im Pariser Opernhaus. Regisseur Joel Schumacher hält diese Szene ganz im Stil der Schwarz-Weiß-Filme aus den 20er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts. Erst nachdem der an den Rollstuhl gefesselte Vicomte de Chagny die kleine Affen-Spieluhr ersteigert hat und den Klängen der weltbekannten Melodie vom „Maskenball“ lauscht, taucht Schumacher das Geschehen in Farbe: In einer der herausragendsten Verwandlungs-szenen (nach James Camerons „Titanic“-Wiederauferstehung versteht sich) des modernen Films fegt ein Sturm durch die spinnenverwebte, baufällige Oper. Man spürt förmlich wie dem Gemäuer wieder Leben eingehaucht wird. Intensiv werden der Zuschauerraum, die Bühne und selbstverständlich der Kronleuchter in schillernden Farben dargestellt.

Die Umwandlung wird mit der Illumination der – damals noch mit Fackeln im Boden realisierten – Bühnenbeleuchtung komplettiert und der Zuschauer findet sich mitten im emsigen Probenbetrieb eines Opernhauses wieder.

Schon der erste Auftritt von Minnie Driver als extrem komplizierte Carlotta zeugt von dem guten Gespür der Casting-Firma. Herrlich eitel, arrogant und vollkommen von sich und ihren Fähigkeiten überzeugt, setzt sich die Diva in Szene und macht unnachdrücklich klar, nach wessen Pfeife hier alle zu tanzen haben. Das die Schauspielerin nicht selbst singt, sondern ihr Gesang von Margaret Preece synchronisiert wurde, fällt da kaum ins Gewicht.

Patrick Wilson erscheint etwas jung und milchgesichtig, um als Mäzen einer berühmten Oper durchzugehen, aber für seine Rolle als Jugendliebe des Ballettmädchens Christine Daaé ist er wiederum sehr passend gewählt. Die weiche Stimme des typischen Musicaltenors steht im Einklang mit seinem zumeist soften Auftreten.

Andrew Lloyd Webber hatte in einem Interview erwähnt, dass sich die Dreharbeiten so lange hinaus gezögert haben, weil er warten wollte bis die von ihm auserwählte Christine-Darstellerin reif genug wäre. Da kann man nur sagen: Das Warten hat sich gelohnt: Emmy Rossum bedient mit ihren Kulleraugen, dem runden Gesicht und dem Schmollmund das klassische Kindchenschema. Mit ihre Grazie und den langen braunen Locken ist sie die perfekte Visualisierung der Christine. Doch die junge New Yorkerin sieht nicht nur gut aus und spielt sehr charmant und überzeugend – sie singt den anspruchsvollen Part der zwischen der Liebe zu zwei extrem unterschiedlichen Männern sehr gut. Im Gegensatz zu vielen Bühnen-Christines neigt sie nicht zum Schreien, sondern hat ihre Stimme jederzeit voll im Griff.

Dass man für sie als ein Bühnen-Kostüm ein weißes Ballkleid auswählte und sie mit Swarovski-Sternen im Haar schmückte, ist schwer zu verstehen. Dieses Kostüm gehört unabdingbar zu Kaiserin Elisabeth und macht in dem gleichnamigen Musical noch Sinn. Doch diese offensichtliche Verquickung der beiden jedes auf seine Weise beeindruckenden Bühnenwerke erscheint deplatziert.

Monsieur André und Monsieur Firmin sind mit Simon Callow und Ciaran Hinds sehr gut besetzt. Beide passen zu der Vorstellung der mit den unheimlichen Geschehnissen überforderten Theatermacher und das Zusammenspiel der beiden funktioniert gut. Die gestrenge Ballettlehrerin Mme. Giry wurde mit einer bestechend spielenden Miranda Richardson besetzt. Obwohl Mme. Giry keine wirklich große Rolle ist, entdeckt man Gefühle und meint hinter der strengen Fassade die Verletzlichkeit einer in würde alternden Frau zu erkennen. Ihre Tochter Meg wurde mit Jennifer Ellison besetzt. Kurz gesagt: Die erste Meg, die ihren Part wirklich singt und nicht quakt oder piepst.

Bleibt noch der eigentliche Hauptdarsteller, Gerard Butler. Hier verwundert die Wahl doch sehr, da der schottische Schauspieler („Herrschaft des Feuers“, „Tomb Raider II“) kein ausgebildeter Sänger ist. Er gibt zwar sein Bestes, doch überzeugt er vor allem schauspielerisch durch sein elegantes Auftreten und die Macht (vor allem als Tod während des Maskenballs), die er ausstrahlt. Gerade beim Phantom hätte man von der Maskenabteilung mehr erwarten können, denn die „entstellte Fratze“ sieht lange nicht so furchtbar aus, wie im Theater.

Aber neben dieser Verharmlosung gab es auch einige dramaturgische Veränderungen, die dem Film etwas mehr Tiefgang bringen als dem Bühnenmusical. Eingefleischte Fans und Leser von Susan Kays Roman über das Leben von Eric, dem späteren Phantom der Oper, werden sowohl das todbringende Spiegelkabinett unter der Bühne als auch seine Rettung als ausgestelltes „Monsterkind“ durch Mme. Giry wieder erkennen. In diesem Zusammenhang sind auch kleinere Textänderungen absolut nachvollziehbar und sinnvoll.

Dramaturgische Ergänzungen wie den Fechtkampf zwischen Phantom und Raoul auf dem Friedhof oder den erst Tage nach dem Maskenball fallenden Kronleuchter (auf der Bühne fällt er direkt in der Szene davor) kann man verzeihen, etwas anders sieht es aus wenn eine der pompösesten Massenszenen auf der Bühne zu einer langweiligen Tanzsequenz verharmlost wird. Der bunte Maskenball findet für Schumacher nur in weiß, schwarz, gold und silbern statt. Andere Farben haben nur die Protagonisten an. Die Intensität des Opern-Karnevals geht hierdurch komplett verloren. Das wird auch durch die Vielseitigkeit und die vielen kleinen Details der Kostüme wettgemacht. Hier bleibt definitiv ein fader Beigeschmack zurück.

Zu dick aufgetragen sind die explodierenden Fensterscheiben und der Großbrand der Pariser Oper, nachdem das Phantom Christine in seine Katakomben entführt hat. Das sieht zu sehr nach Hollywood-Maschinerie aus und weniger nach dem gerade in dieser Szene erforderlichen Feingefühl für die tiefen Emotionen der Hauptpersonen.

Doch der größte Kritikpunkt ist die Tatsache, dass man den Film nicht durchsynchronisiert hat, sondern scheinbar einfach die deutsche Tonspur über das Bildmaterial gelegt hat. Bei den gesungenen Passagen fällt dies vor allem in den vielen Nahaufnahmen sehr stark auf und beeinträchtigt den Genuss. Damit soll die Leistung der deutschen Sänger (Uwe Kröger – Phantom, Jana Werner – Christine, Carsten Axel Lepper – Raoul, Jasna Ivir – Carlotta)  in keinster Weise abgewertet werden, aber dieses Manko hätte sicherlich im Vorwege verhindert werden können.

Die Frage, ob sich ein Besuch des Films über „Das Phantom der Oper“ lohnt, kann abschließend nicht beantwortet werden. Auf der einen Seite sind Bühnenmitschnitte, die, wie bei „Cats“ und „Joseph“ geschehen, durch kleinere filmische Kniffe aufgewertet werden sicherlich wesentlich authentischer und geben den Zuschauern das Gefühl, im Theater zu sitzen. Andererseits bietet aber gerade das sagenumwobene und vielfach verfilmte „Phantom der Oper“ ausreichend Potential für einen richtigen Musikfilm, wie ihn Schumacher und Lloyd Webber umgesetzt haben.

Michaela Flint

veröffentlicht in blickpunkt musical Ausgabe 02/05, März-April 2005

Regie: Joel Schumacher Darsteller: Gerard Butler, Minnie Driver, Miranda Richardson, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson Musik: Andrew Lloyd Webber Verleih / Fotos: Concorde Filmverleih


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