Not even Richard E Grant can save this dud

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TOFirst Night 2


DIRECTOR: Christopher Menaul

CAST: Richard E Grant, Sarah Brightman

CLASSIFICATION: 13 language, sex and violence

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes


The title alone holds promise. There’s a ring about it. Expectancy that something special is about to happen.

Sadly, it doesn’t, but fortunately you’re not left hanging for too long. Almost from the word go, it’s clear that this one’s not going to work on any level.

Locally, we look on Richard E Grant with kindness as kind of one of our own. Yes, I know he grew up in Swaziland, but he studied here! It almost makes him one of us.

None of that helps. He is spectacularly bad, which might make it worth seeing from that point of view.

And if you’re a Brightman fan, like her voice, don’t bother. It’s an opera movie which makes her an obvious popular choice, but then, they don’t let her sing.

It’s that kind of movie.

The whole premise of the movie feels dubious and a bit dishonest.

If for example you read that the story is about putting on Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Brightman stars, won’t you expect her to sing? She doesn’t, yet Grant does.

Actually no, he doesn’t really because they’ve dubbed all the singing parts with beautiful voices no less, but why not have those singers in the roles?

They couldn’t have fared any worse and at least there would have been some authenticity to the project.

It feels like a play, but it’s not.

A group of singers gather for a wealthy opera aficionado who wants to stage and perform in a production of Cosi Fan Tutte.

While rehearsing at his country estate complete with hunts, horses and woods, the drama of the opera also plays out in the personal lives of the stars.

One has to assume no one sets out to make something this bad, but it would make more sense to just stage a good version of the iconic Mozart opera. Find one and watch that.

If you liked… Smokey Joe’s Cafe or Jekyll and Hyde… you might like this.

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