From Fab? Not quite, but Joanna Lumley’s comedy Falling for Figaro offers more than great music

FORGET TO FIGARO ★★★½
M, 105 minutes, in the cinema

The behavior of Absolutely fantastic’ Patsy Stone would not be tolerated for a moment by Joanna Lumley’s latest screen incarnation, Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop. In the new film from Australian writer and director Ben Lewin Fall in love with FigaroMeghan steals the show as a retired opera star who earns a meager living by teaching singing lessons at her farmhouse in a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands.

Joanna Lumley as Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop and Danielle Macdonald as Millie Cantwell face off in Falling For Figaro.

Joanna Lumley as Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop and Danielle Macdonald as Millie Cantwell face off in Falling For Figaro.

She is not exactly overwhelmed by students. Only the most intrepid need apply, as each lesson is a survival course peppered with vitriol and made even more interesting by the occasional physical attack. In her view, no opera singer can succeed without learning the true value of suffering.

It sounds bleak, but Meghan is said to soften should any of her students ever meet her punishment standards, and Lewin and his co-author, Allen Palmer, another Australian, offer an early guarantee that this will eventually happen.

Meghan has only two students – Max (Hugh Skinner), a handsome local who has indulged his desire for an operatic career for years, and Millie (Australian actress Danielle Macdonald), an American who left her lucrative job as a fund manager in London to to see if she too has what it takes to be a singer.

In Love with Figaros Australian director Ben Lewin on set with stars Danielle Macdonald and Hugh Skinner.

In Love with Figaros Australian director Ben Lewin on set with stars Danielle Macdonald and Hugh Skinner.

They’re training for a national competition, Singer of Renown, which means the scene is set for a rom-com that marries a strong Scottish line in rustic eccentricity with an equally robust belief in the aphrodisiac power of opera’s most romantic arias.

Lewin cast Macdonald after seeing her in 2018 dumplings , where she starred as the daughter of a former beauty queen, played by Jennifer Aniston, who never tires of nagging her daughter about losing weight. He liked the easy-going naturalism he saw in Macdonald’s portrayal, and Macdonald brings that same quality to this film, although she’s a bit too reserved in the most spectacular of her confrontations with Meghan.

The scene moves between the village, which consists of little more than the pub, the Filthy Pig, where Millie takes a room for the duration of her trials, and London, where her boss/boyfriend (Shazad Latif) is still trying to understand why she swapped him and her job for a year in the wilderness.

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/movies/ab-fab-not-quite-but-at-least-this-comedy-offers-more-than-great-music-20220712-p5b14a.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture From Fab? Not quite, but Joanna Lumley’s comedy Falling for Figaro offers more than great music

Jaclyn Diaz

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