Suspension of disbelief is essential to all cinematic genres, however romantic comedies—by nature of their sometimes-outsized emotional swings—typically demand extra. After all, an individual would wish to abandon their lives to pursue their seemingly inconceivable goals. After all two individuals who initially appear to detest one another will truly find themselves loving one another. After all the residents of a small, working-class village can be exuberantly enthusiastic about one thing as seemingly random as opera. These are all acquainted, even predictable, parts for the style, however, “Falling for Figaro” handles them with such ease and such deftness that it’s comfortingly straightforward to fall beneath the movie’s light appeal.
“Falling for Figaro” focuses on twentysomething American Millie (Danielle Macdonald), whose life in London is sort of comfy. She is a belief fund supervisor at a funding agency, earns a formidable wage, drives her personal luxurious automotive, and owns her personal lovely dwelling. She’s surpassed the success of her former boss Charlie (Shazad Latif), but he doesn’t appear to have thoughts, and their long-term relationship is pretty secure. However is Millie really joyful at work, or really fulfilled by her job? No on each count.
What actually strikes Millie is opera, whether or not she’s attending a reside present or watching clips of performances online. So Millie takes an opportunity on herself: She’ll spend a yr coaching in opera singing, after which she’ll check out for the nationwide “Singer of Renown” contest. If she fails, she’ll return to her previous profession—and practically everybody appears to suppose she’s going to, together with Charlie, who’s extra tolerant than supportive. However, Millie is undeterred: “Why shouldn’t I observe my coronary heart? I’m not that previous, and it’s not too late,” she insists, and Ben Lewin and Allen Palmer’s script is peppered with assured declarations that Macdonald delivers with poise and self-assurance.
One of the simplest ways to interrupt into the opera world is thru the Singer of Renown competitors, the winner of which receives a contract with an opera firm. So Millie travels to a small village within the Scottish Highlands, the place she turns into a pupil of the “Mad Diva” Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop (Joanna Lumley). As a coach, Meghan is demanding and merciless, and fees Millie exorbitant charges—and she or he’s additionally coaching one different pupil, Max (Hugh Skinner). Her surrogate son who additionally serves because the chef, plumber, and upkeep man for the Filthy Pig pub subsequent door to Meghan’s studio, Max has competed in Singer of Renown in earlier years, and has all the time been the runner-up. Millie’s arrival signifies not only a divide in Meghan’s consideration but in addition means Max has a brand new rival.
However, keep in mind the style! After all, Max and Millie don’t stay enemies in “Falling for Figaro,” and that reveal shouldn’t be a spoiler of any sort. As an alternative, the movie advantages from the ensemble’s regular, dedicated performances and director Lewin’s well-staged singing scenes. The thought of following your goals, irrespective of how ridiculous they may appear to others, is handled with respect and dignity right here, and that method helps the movie keep grounded. Macdonald’s efficiency has the identical impact. She portrays Millie as a tough employee and blunt communicator who’s keen to place within the effort to succeed (“Toast to my success, or go f**okay your self,” she tells the skeptical Charlie), and that practicality sparks nicely towards Lumley’s zaniness as Meghan (so many smirks and raised eyebrows!) and Skinner’s preliminary childishness as Max.
The movie’s humor is that dry British sort (Meghan flipping by a completely clean calendar to try to discover a date to squeeze in Millie’s first lesson; Filthy Pig proprietor Ramsey, performed by Gary Lewis, correcting Millie when she guesses that Meghan hasn’t had intercourse in 20 years), and the result’s bursts of laughter that punctuate the movie’s in any other case romantic mode. All of Lumley’s deadpan line deliveries, together with her “The lady would possibly have potential” whereas Max dazedly watches Meghan purchase kilos of lox with Millie’s overpriced lesson charges, are a specific spotlight.
Disappointingly, although, it’s that very romance that’s generally missing in “Falling for Figaro.” Macdonald and Skinner are each robust singers who draw viewers into their operatic performances, however, the movie hampers itself by making their attraction to one another solely play out throughout their rehearsals or duets. Myriad longing gazes are evocative, however, extra conversations between Millie and Max about what they individually need or about what opera means to them would have been extra impactful. Millie’s “I feel I’m irresistibly interested in the tragedy of all of it” isn’t sufficient, and it’s a testimony to Macdonald and Skinner that they inject chemistry into their characters’ underwritten pairing. Their performances are what make “Falling for Figaro” an entertaining distraction, even because the movie performs out precisely as you’ll count on.