CYRANO – A Review by Cynthia Flores
I watch a lot of films. So, for me to say the new film Cyrano, directed by Joe Wright, is quite possibly the most romantic film I have seen in years, carries a bit of weight. Add to that the fact it’s a musical, and we are talking sheer brilliance.
The story of Cyrano de Bergerac first came to us by way of a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. He based the play on the real-life Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac who was a well-known poet and swordsman. The play was a smash hit when it premiered in France and made Rostand famous and rich. The play has inspired films made about it since the 1950s. It was even given a modern twist starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hanna in the 1987 hit film called Roxanne.
So the fact that we now have a musical version of the play is no surprise. The twist they have chosen to make this time is based on its lead actor. This musical was written by Peter Dinklage’s wife Erica Schmidt. He originated the role on stage in London. So it fits him like a glove.
Instead of Cyrano’s confidence being blunted by a disfiguringly large nose, this Cyrano (Peter Dinklage) worries over his very short stature. He is a poet and skilled soldier that wields a sword as sharp as his wit. Unafraid of anyone or anything except the considerations of one woman. He assumes that the beautiful and willful object of his affections, Roxanne (Haley Bennett) would never consider him as a lover because of his statue and would reject him because of it. Afraid to reveal his true intentions to his best friend Roxanne, he instead offers his expertise as a poet to Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) who is a taller, handsome cadet new to his division. He is also the man Roxanne has fallen for at first sight. Christian is also taken by Roxanne’s beauty but afraid of his inability to woo her in romantic verse. As he says, “I know how to fight, but not how to speak eloquently.” So he jumps at the friendship and the help that Cyrano offers. Christain never suspects that Cyrano is using him to write and speak the words that have stayed hidden in his heart for Roxanne all this time.
Much more happens in this film including war, an evil nobleman named De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn) intent on marring Roxanne, and songs. Many beautiful and mournful songs written by twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dressner from the rock band The National, some of which will break your heart and haunt you well past the credits.
Director Joe Wright’s film adaptation of this stage musical is lush and filled with the splendor of sets shot on locations around Sicily. With camera moves that dance fluidly around dozens of dancers. There are moments that slip out of realism and into dreamscapes that seem perfect for this story. The story works well with Wright’s grand tendencies as a director.
The crowning glory of this film is Peter Dinklage’s bold charisma and heart-rending glances as the dashing nobleman Cyrano. Brave enough to face a mob of men and war but too afraid to declare his feelings for his true love – instead, choosing to adore Roxanne passionately from a distance.
I give Cyrano 5-stars. I would give it 10-stars, but they won’t let me. This will be the perfect date night film of 2022. And keep an eye out for a cameo by Glen Hansard as a singing unnamed soldier with a song. Yes, that was really him.
Directed by: Joe Wright
Written by: Edmond Rostand (Play), Erica Schmidt
Selig Rating: 5 Stars
Running Time: 2h 4min
Romance / Musical
Wide Theatrical Release: In Theaters Only February 11th
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn, Monica Dolan
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.