CYRANO, MY LOVE – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Alexis Michalik, the writer-director of this new fantastic film, said he got the idea for the movie over 15 years ago when he first saw 1999s’ Shakespeare in Love. He often wondered why nobody had ever done a project like that about a French writer. Years later, Michalik came across an information booklet that explained the circumstances surrounding the premiere of Cyrano. He said that it seemed unbelievable that no one ever thought to tell on film the greatest success story of French theater. Indeed it was to be the last success story as it came up just before the advent of cinema. Meaning that movies were being produced rather than plays after that. Michalik was unable to get funding for his film Cyrano, My Love when he first wrote it. Instead of quitting, he adapted it into a stage play that was performed at The Palais Royal Theater. Luckily for us, it was such a hit that he was able to raise the funding to turn it into the film he originally intended.
Cyrano, My Love starts in Paris, December 1897. Edmond Rostand (Thomas Soliveres) is not yet thirty. Still, he had a loving wife (Alice De Lencquesaing), two children to feed, and a lot of anxieties. He hasn’t written anything for two years since his prose style play had flopped. In desperation, Edmond takes his friend’s advice, the infamous Sarah Bernhardt (Clementine Clarie). He offers the great actor Constant Coquelin (Olivier Gourmet) a new play, a heroic comedy, written in verse for the holidays.
There is just one problem: the play hasn’t been written yet. Ignoring the whims of the actresses, the demands of his Corsican producers, his wife’s jealousy, his best friend’s relationship problems, and the lack of enthusiasm of all those around him, Edmond begins to write the play that nobody believes in. For the time being, he only has the title: ‘Cyrano de Bergerac.’
There seems like a lot going on but just wait until you see the film. You’ll get lost in this version of 1897 Paris. The film shows how it was the time of the Moulin Rouge and of great writers and artists living and creating in that magical City. As Edmund puts it in the film when he is broke, “it’s the most expensive city to live in in the world.” To which his wife replies, “but it is the loveliest.”
The director took great care to show the craziness that surrounds staging a play, let alone creating a masterpiece which is precisely what Edmund Rostand did when he created the character and story of Cyrano de Bergerac. The film also shows great respect and love for the actors on stage. They are the ones that gave their all for art and the love of it.
I know some people don’t like to go to movies with subtitles but get over yourself. If you can watch sports with all the info that goes on in the space below the action, then reading simple English at this French film will be easy. And you’ll be rewarded with a funny, touching and loving story of one of the greatest plays ever not written by Shakespeare.
I give Cyrano, My Love an A+ rating, and know it will be on top ten lists for the best films of 2019.
Directed by: Alexis Michalik
Written by: Alexis Michalik
Selig Rating A+
Running Time: 112min
Foreign/ Comedy / Historic
Limited to Wide Release: November 8th The Angelika Film Center & Cafe Dallas & Plano
Starring: Thomas Soliveres, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Alice de Lencquesaing, Clementine Clarie, Jean-Michel Martial, Dominique Pinon, Lucie Boujenah, Tom Leeb
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.