Puccini for Beginners
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A woman who loves opera finds herself playing a romantic version of musical chairs in this independent comedy from writer and director Maria Maggenti. Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is a writer who has been involved with Samantha (Julianne Nicholson) for some time, but Allegra just isn't willing to make a commitment. Eventually, Samantha decides she's had enough, and she not only leaves Allegra, she jumps to the other side of the gender divide and starts dating a man. While Allegra is none too pleased with Samantha's actions, she unwittingly finds herself following suit when she meets… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Fresh Manhattan locations prove as photogenic as the leads, and the supporting actors -- especially Tina Benko as a glacial, impeccably dressed amazon -- don't miss a beat of Maggenti's snappy dialogue."
‑ Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader
"Puccini for Beginners doesn't quite make it as romantic comedy. Most of the elements are in place, but the characters seem too narcissistic to fall in love and too broad-brush to be authentic."
‑ Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
"But when all is said and done, Maggenti’s film transcends mere lesbian angst and offers some food for thought to lovers everywhere as they dance, sing or fornicate around the scary subject of commitment."
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
"Thankfully, Puccini for Beginners isn't quite as exploitative as you might expect for a movie about a bisexual love triangle. But that's about all the credit this flat-footed, would-be screwball comedy gets."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
"[Actress] Reaser is no slouch in the emotionally befuddled whirlwind department. In the end, it's all la dolce vita no matter how you look at it."
‑ Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
"Reaser really doesn't stand a chance. She's plucky as heck, and you like her despite the script, but she can't save the movie."
‑ Tom Long, Detroit News
"Has a likable smartness to it; like a good Woody Allen film with a gay twist."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"It's amiable enough but there's nothing on show to make it stand out from the average rom-com."
‑ Caroline Westbrook, Empire Magazine
"Beware the indie screwball comedy that uses opera as a metaphor and lives in that dreamspace between Greenwich Village bookstores and the characters' belly buttons."
‑ Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune
"...flickers with good intentions, but the final result is flat and featureless..."
‑ Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
"There is pleasure and even insight to be had in Puccini but it all feels second-hand, and therefore, of questionable provenance."
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"It's no fun to sit through the movie's retread Woody Allenisms, including postmodern repartee among the self-absorbed or giddily neurotic and passing strangers suddenly given to ironic Greek chorus-like commentary."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Puccini is the joyously refreshing romancer that it tries so hard to be. Its success has a lot to do with its casting directors who have peopled both the major and minor roles with aplomb. Even off-off-Broadway legend Helen Hanft has a cameo."
‑ Brandon Judell, New York Theatre Wire
"Maggenti has fun messing around with gender and sexuality stereotypes as well as relationship roles, and strives to hammer home the point that both men and women can devolve into comically clingy wrecks."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"When a script that considers itself smart, sassy and even intellectual comes across as juvenile and dopey, what went wrong?"
‑ Jean Lowerison, San Diego Metropolitan
More reviews for Puccini for Beginners on Rotten Tomatoes