A Japanese businessman (Ken Watanabe) holds a birthday party in a villa in a South American country and the world-famous opera singer Roxanne (Julianne Moore) is invited to entertain the guests. Suddenly, a guerrilla group rushes in and takes everyone at the event hostage. They demand that their comrades be released. Roxanne's voice turns out to be important during the negotiations. Bel Canto is based on Ann Patchett's Orange Prize-winning novel by the same name.