The original play of Cyrano de Bergerac is over a hundred years old, but the story itself is a tale as old as time. One man’s insecurity takes over as he dreams of a day when he can tell the woman he loves how he truly feels. Cyrano is a lyricist at heart, a fighter in life, and an unconfident man when it comes to his looks. The original story depicts a Cyrano who hates how large his nose is, while this 2022 version showcases Cyrano in a much, um, smaller frame.
‘Cyrano’ is a tour de force musical retelling of an old story. Peter Dinklage takes on the title role, based on a 2019 Off-Broadway version written by Dinklage’s wife, Erica Schmidt. Cyrano is in love with Roxanne (Haley Bennett), but she is in love with Cyrano’s colleague, Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). While Cyrano’s love is one of passion, Roxanne’s feelings for Christian are merely superficial, and she enlists Cyrano’s help in convincing Christian to express his feelings towards her via letters. Cyrano, ever the poet, decides to write the letters himself and use Christian as the body double.
There is no denying Dinklage’s star power and his performance in this film is radiant to say the least. The expressions on his face throughout the movie wield more power than any sword ever could. His longing for the woman he cannot have, expressed through songs, tugs at your heartstrings over and over again. But like many versions of this play have demonstrated in the past, Cyrano’s love is always felt from afar. There are several scenes where Cyrano is serenading Roxanne from a distance, while she is only viewing Christian in the shadows. It’s a ploy that’s been done before, but for some reason this musical version makes the plot seem more realistic.
There are times when ‘Cyrano’ derails from the passionate love story within, when war takes over the screen and the villains of the story come to light. While these tangents could have ruined other versions of this story, director Joe Wright is too skilled to let it. Borrowing from other filmmakers like Baz Luhrmann and Rob Marshall, Wright keeps the storyline tight and focuses on the main love triangle rhythm. It’s a delicate balance that, much like Wright’s ‘Atonement’, delivers a crushing blow to your spirit in the end.
Ticket rating: 🎟🎟🎟🎟