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The performer known as Farinelli, born Carlo Broschi (and played in this film by Stefano Dionisi), was famous in the 18th century as the world's greatest castrato , a male singer whose testicles were removed in childhood so that he would retain the high, clear voice of a child while gaining the control and power of an adult vocalist. A strikingly gifted singer with a range of more than three octaves, Farinelli was given little choice but to sacrifice his manhood in exchange for his art, and as his career was founded on the surgery that would dramatically restrict his off-stage life, his… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Artistry abounds in every aspect of the film."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Because Carlo Broschi, the 18th-century castrato singer known as Farinelli, was himself such an exotic and sensationalistic figure, you'd think that creating a dull movie out of his flamboyant life would be next to impossible. Think again."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"This Oscar-nominated Belgian entry about catsration of boys who became phenomenal soprano opera singers is more bizarre than drmatically engaging, but the story is always fascinating and the movie nice to look at and listent to."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"A lush, engrossing drama."
‑ Stephen Farber, Movieline
"The good parts are brilliant, but poor ones will put you to sleep. The story is so unique and fascinating, and the technical aspects of the film so well done, that I could not think about missing seeing this show."
‑ Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews
"There's something too artificial and highfalutin about the movie."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Glossy and histrionic, salacious and empty, Farinelli reduces a fascinating story to a series of hissy fits and leering glances."
‑ Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
"Romantic, sweeping tale of sex and sibling rivalry that manages to connect despite its overwrought storytelling."
‑ Gabriel Shanks, Mixed Reviews
"Farinelli is great fun and sufficiently thoughtful and complex to give food for continuing thought."
‑ Arthur Lazere, culturevulture.net
"Musically thrilling."
‑ Bruce Kirkland, Jam! Movies
"A fascinating, if occasionally overly melodramatic, recreation of a period when Baroque music ruled Europe."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Farinelli, one of the 1995 Oscar nominees in the foreign film category, is onto an interesting story, all right, but it leaves us feeling, like some of Farinelli's lovers, that something is missing."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Stops you in your tracks and transports you to a phantasmagorical world where music, mystery and magic hold sway."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"The first two-thirds seem jumbled and underdeveloped."
‑ Chris Hicks, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"The kind of high-camp, low-cohesiveness movie that inspires snippy reviews, and sarcasm about the fact that it earned a best foreign film Oscar nomination."
‑ Barbara Shulgasser, San Francisco Examiner
More reviews for Farinelli on Rotten Tomatoes