“Cyrano” dazzles audiences with a refreshing take on the classic play written by Edmond Rostand and the stage musical production written by Erica Schmidt.
By: Samantha Bravo
“Cyrano de Bergerac” is a play, written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand, that tells the story of unrequited love and not judging a book by its cover. Rostand’s play was known for its outstanding poetry, antiquated language, and dedication to its messages about love and honor.
Like most classic stories, the play has had several stage and film adaptations over the years. Unlike the previous movies, however, the latest film adaptation titled “Cyrano” is based on the 2018 Off Broadway stage production of the same name.
The film is directed by Joe Wright and produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Guy Heeley. According to Deadline, this is Wright’s first attempt at making a movie musical.
The screenplay is written by Erica Schmidt, who also wrote the stage musical. Her husband, Peter Dinklage, is best known for his role as Tyrion from “Game of Thrones”, and Haley Bennett is known for her role as Megan from “The Girl on the Train”. Both actors will be reprising their roles as the witty and eloquent Cyrano de Bergerac and the love interest, Roxanne, respectively.
The movie can only be seen in theaters, which means that we won’t be able to see it on any streaming services. It still hasn’t been confirmed when the movie will be streaming.
As in the original source material, the movie tells the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, a skilled swordsman and respected soldier in the King’s army-with a passion for writing poetry. However, instead of having an abnormally large nose like in Rostand’s adaptation, the Cyrano in this version of the story is mocked and ridiculed for his small stature, as he was in Schmidt’s musical adaptation.
He is also in love with his childhood friend, Roxanne, but he is convinced that his physical appearance makes him unworthy of her affections. To top it all off, she is engaged to the wealthy, predatory and snobbish Duke de Guiche, played by “Ready Player One”’s Ben Mendelsohn, whom she doesn’t love.
However, at the beginning of the movie, Roxanne falls in love with the bumbling yet handsome young soldier named Christian de Neuvillette, played by “Luce”’s Kelvin Harrison Jr. He is equally in love with her but doesn’t know how to express his feelings.
In order to help Christian win the love of Roxanne, Cyrano agrees to write various love letters to her under his name. Roxanne is initially awestruck and infatuated by the eloquence of the letters, but as we all know, Cyrano and Christian can’t keep the charade going on forever.
The songs are composed by twin brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, while the lyrics are written by Matt Berninger and Carin Besser—all of whom are members of the indie rock band “The National”.
The musical numbers are one of the film’s greatest highlights, but there is still so much room for improvement.
Many of the songs are charming, captivating and perfectly capture the emotions of the scenes and characters. It also helps that they are paired with stunning choreography.
Unfortunately, some of the songs, which usually revolve around the themes of romantic love, can be repetitive at times. Some of the lyrics feel lazily written and leave a lot to be desired.
What also makes this version stand out from the previous adaptations is the movie’s portrayal of the two main characters and the aptly chosen cast. While Dinklage isn’t the best singer in the film, the rest of his performance as Cyrano makes up for it.
He is able to combine the rugged, heroic soldier and the melodramatic poet who can only love his childhood friend from afar.
Unlike most of the adaptations, Roxanne is so much more than the object of Cyrano and Christian’s affections. She is an independent woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t want to be treated like someone else’s property.
While the movie does have its flaws, it is truly an unforgettable experience.