Based on the very popular Broadway musical — which I’ve never seen — “The Phantom of The Opera” stars Gerard Butler as The Phantom of an opera house who secretly mentors a young, opera singer (played by Emmy Rossum) during the late 1800s in Paris.  Hiding in the shadows, Butler makes his wishes known to the opera house owners to make Rossum the Prima Donna of the theater, making it very clear he intends to do violence to those who ignore his commands.

Rossum, being young, beautiful, and talented, makes it easy for the opera house owners to obey Butler.  But Butler has more than fatherly feelings for Rossum; and when Rossum’s male, childhood friend (played by Patrick Wilson) appears again in her life, Rossum and Wilson start a romance that drives Butler to a murderous rage that threatens the destruction of the opera house and all those within.

One of my memorable, movie moments of “The Phantom Of The Opera” is the scene that shows the origins of the Phantom: a very disturbing childhood, a thirst for revenge and taste for murder, and an act of kindness that leads him to shelter in the catacombs of an opera house.

Taking top honors for my most memorable, movie moment of “The Phantom of The Opera” is the scene when Butler has Rossum in his underground lair.  Standing behind her, singing and wooing her, Butler caresses Rossum’s body, creating exquisite looks on her delicate face.  Such a nuanced performance from Rossum is amazing, considering she was only 16-years-old during production of the movie.

This is a fine, musical movie that does everything well.  Emmy Rossum’s acting and vocal talent and beauty are huge bonuses for this production; but the ultimate stars are the songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which kept playing in my mind long after the final credits were over.

— M