I have always loved the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. I recall seeing it when I was a little girl at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and it made an impact on me then and still does to this day. There is something universal in its themes and story that remains just as poignant in 2021 as it was back in 1897.
Now we have a new version simply called Cyrano helmed by director Joe Wright and God bless him he’s turned it into a musical!! 2021 seems to be the year of the musical so it’s been a fun time for me. This production is based on a stage musical of teh same name by Erica Schmidt and she does the screenplay here. It has some flaws but it swept me away in the romance, heart and beautiful storytelling.
Cyrano in this version is played by Peter Dinklage and instead of a large nose, as in the original play, he is obviously a little person. Dinklage does a great job inhabiting both the bravado and lack of confidence that exist simultaneously within the character. In many ways changing from nose to height makes the social stigmas feel more relatable because sadly more women would probably care more about the latter than former. It just makes for an interesting character to have the same man who kills a man in a duel on stage for all to see be the one who can’t speak one word of his love for Roxanne for fear of rejection.
Haley Bennett makes for a wonderful Roxanne with a beautiful singing voice and she has great chemistry with Dinklage. Kelvin Harrison Jr is fine as Christian but the part is admittedly on the bland side. The songs are all written by the band The National, which I was unfamiliar with before this movie, but they craft some standouts like “Someone to Say”
Some of the other songs are more hit and miss but most musical fans will enjoy them. The singing is all outstanding and score is beautiful. Joe Wright brings his elegant style along with DP Seamus McGarvey who worked with him for 2007’s Anna Karenina, which I also love!
All the costumes and production values are first rate in Cyrano which helps the viewer become immersed in the tragic tale of missed opportunities. If only Cyrano had been braver. If only Christian had confessed. If only Roxanne hadn’t been so blind. All those emotions are felt deeply by the screenplay and make Cyrano a special cinematic event!
Cyrano is also a terrific date night option. If has the swordsmanship for the guys and the romance for the ladies. It’s not getting the wide release until January but keep an eye out for it. You won’t want to miss it!
8 out of 10
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