The oft-film classic tale Cyrano has a fresh look in this moving and heart-warming movie that is also a musical, no less!
The romantic drama is based on Erica Schmidt’s 2018 stage musical of the same name, which itself is founded on Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac. With the film being based on a stage musical based on a play, it’s easy to assume that the story is air-tight. And it is. The protagonist Cyrano is too self-conscious to woo his one true love, Roxanne, so when she falls for another man, Christian, Cyrano attempts to bring the two lovers together through his words instead… He writes beautiful poems to send Roxanne on behalf of Christian, and as she falls in love with the confessions on the page, she falls for the man she believes has penned them.
Cyrano has a way with words, and not just written ones; it’s his wit that makes the comedic scenes so laugh-out-loud and his lyricism aid the intense love scenes, and, of course, the man behind the character, Peter Dinklage, makes all of this possible. Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train) as Roxanne and Kelvin Harrison Jr (Christian) are both equally as brilliant; the whole cast makes the story believable.
To its credit, the majority of the 2021 film is light-hearted and fun as the audience are deep in the throes of Cyrano helping lover boy Christian court Roxanne and take her away from the villainous De Guiche (her supposed most eligible bachelor played by Ben Mendelsohn), which is set entirely in beautiful, sunny city landscapes. That is until Cyrano and Christian leave to fight in a battle. The setting immediately becomes dark and gloomy; we follow the men as they sit in snowy camps and confess their deepest secrets and wishes while they wait to (probably) be killed. The exchange of sets, bringing a change of mood, would have had a phenomenal impact on stage, however, in a movie world saturated with special effects, it failed to deliver.
Also, when Cyrano returns from battle, and he and Roxanne confess their love to one another before he dies (sob), it feels a tad rushed… The romantic comedy to tragedy progression, again, would work better on stage as the audience is more immersed in the drama.
So, while Cyrano is best left to theatre storytellers, the movie is nevertheless enjoyable, and with that, it gets three stars.
Cyrano is in UK cinemas from February 25th.