Summary: Too self-conscious to woo Roxanne himself, wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac helps young Christian nab her heart through love letters.
There might be minor spoilers because this story has been told in many ways and it’s been a while since it’s been out lol
Cast and Characters. So, I’m just going to stick to our main characters with a mention of a side character.
- Peter Dinklage as Cyrano de Bergerac. He is a man of words and funnily enough the first time we even meet him, we hear him before we see him. Cyrano is cynical but also weirdly romantic when it counts. He’s known Roxanne for a long time, I believe they’re from the same country/village/city/whatever and he’s been in love with her but believes she could never love him because of his dwarfism. He ends up helping Christian because he doesn’t want Roxanne to be disappointed, but he clearly has an issue with helping Christian, but also uses the letters from Christian to express his own feelings. I think Cyrano is an interesting character in this because he’s very intelligent, but his plan is dumb lol. Peter Dinklage is good as he always is as Cyrano. I’ll talk about his singing later, but he was fine ultimately. I think he had nice chemistry with both Haley Bennett and Kelvin Harrison Jr. I think Peter Dinklage does such a good job at delivering lines like this, he did in the past as Tyrion and Cyrano is not that far off from Tyrion.
- Haley Bennett as Roxanne. Roxanne is beautiful, penniless and a romantic. She likes lavish things but can’t afford them and because of this, she’s being “courted” by De Guiche, but she doesn’t love him, let alone like him. The film opens with her preparing for the play and singing about being in love and she sees Christian and immediately falls in love because he’s beautiful (which he is lol). Cyrano is her friend and since he’s in the same battalion as Christian, she asks for Cyrano to help her meet him. Throughout the movie, Roxanne plays a passive role in a lot of ways as she’s the one on the receiving end of the letters from Christian and Cyrano, but she loves the romance and the sensuality of it is very much played up. She’s feisty but in a soft-spoken way, I laughed a few times because of she’d snap but her voice is so airy that it doesn’t seem to fit what she’s saying. I like Haley Bennett and I’ve seen her in a few things and she’s very likable. I don’t think Roxanne is meant to be “super likable” because there are moments where you get really annoyed with her, but I think Haley manages to ride the fine line of being likable and annoying as Roxanne. It happens when you have an extremely romantic character who just lives in their own world to the point of bullheaded.
- Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Christian de Neuvillette. Christian is in town because he’s recently become a soldier and he sees Roxanne in the carriage on her way to the play and he falls desperately in love. He ends up meeting Cyrano and they talk about love and Roxanne. We find out that Christian is inarticulate and has a hard time expressing his feelings. I believe in previous versions; he’s played up as being an idiot and I like that they don’t go that route here. He does do some stupid stuff, but it seems as more, unpolished than idiotic. He agrees to Cyrano’s plan that he’ll help him write his letters to Roxanne. I feel like he thinks they’re friends and he trust Cyrano to put his thoughts on paper for Roxanne. Lots happen and Christian goes through a ton of emotions near the end of the film that I feel are super warranted, I just wish he didn’t do what he did lol. I like Kelvin Harrison Jr. a lot, every time I see him in a film, I think he does such a good job. He’s always likable, has an innocence about him and I think he fits Christian well, but I do wish he had more to do.
- Ben Mendelsohn as De Guiche. He is effectively our “villain” of the film. He wants to marry Roxanne because she’s beautiful and he knows for the most part that she doesn’t love him, but he seems to think that she can be swayed. He’s not in the film a ton but he manages to stir up some issues for our main characters. Ben Mendelsohn always plays villains lol, I almost didn’t recognize him because of the makeup but he was ultimately fine.
The Story. So, I know of the story because surprisingly I have seen it told in different stories (#Roxy, Let It Shine and many others lol) but the plot was still ultimately new to me since I didn’t know how it ended. Especially since the two “made for teens” movies I just listed had happy endings. But the story of a man who cannot see past what he views as shortcomings (normally a large nose but here is his dwarfism) is a good story because the only person in his way truly is himself. I like the idea of him yearning for a woman who may not love him in the same way he loves her, only to help her be wooed by another man. The basic idea of it, I think is interesting. It has its moments of romance. I feel like because it’s a musical, they had a chance to change up the story a little more, but I guess with what I’d want them to do lol it would change the story too much.
The Music/Dancing. I’m sure some people will be shocked that it’s a musical. When Roxanne first started singing, this man made a surprised noise lol. My friend and I knew it was a musical going into it, but I never saw a trailer that indicated that. I’m sure they’re out there. I just never saw one. But I think the music is nice, the instrumentals are beautiful but the singing songs, there are a few that stand out to me, particularly one near the end called “Wherever I Fall”, that was beautiful. As for the dancing, I’ll talk about this more later but I liked it the most during the song in the bakery, it’s very fluid dancing and lots of arm waving. Like… interpretative dance.
Cinematography/Direction. My god this movie is beautiful which I’d expect nothing less from the man (Joe Wright) who brought us Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. Seamus McGarvey does the cinematography and he’s worked with Joe Wright before and he’s done a lot of other movies that are beautiful to look at. It has a very “dreamy” look to it. Almost like a daydream and I think that fits this movie because it all feels like a dream. Beautiful looking for sure.
The Story. So, this is there it might get a little spoilery but it’s a well-known story and the movie has been out for a while lol, I’m just late on my review. But my issue with the story is that Cyrano being as smart as he is, comes up with this plan to help Christian woo Roxanne but instead of working alongside with Christian to write the letters and maybe transcribing and maybe prettying up his words, he literally just writes the letters and for some reason Christian believes that Cyrano is writing his thoughts out for him. I also don’t like how Christian’s story ends. I feel like that could have been handled differently because it feels like it’s for nothing. I’m not sure how different it might have been to the original story, but I didn’t like it. The fact that Roxanne has known Cyrano as long as she has but doesn’t know it’s him when he’s writing was kind of funny to me. Also, the entire third act of the movie, not only feels rushed but stuff is just happening! Everything after the “I Want More” song is just wild lol.
*SPOILERS*. So, Christian decides he wants to talk to Roxanne himself so he goes to see her, but he can’t say what’s been said in the letters, he messes up and she’s insulted. She runs off and sings “I Want More”(so dramatic lol but I’ve grown to like the song lol). Christian and Cyrano talk and they go to her house, he talks to her from the balcony while Cyrano feeds him lines, eventually Cyrano ends up talking (which… she can’t recognize his voice??) and I thought Christian realized in this moment that Cyrano was in love with her but he apparently doesn’t. Then, at some point, De Guiche threatens her about marrying him since she’s been playing games. She thinks she’s saving Christian and Cyrano from having to fight in the war and kind of placates him but I think De Guiche sends a letter and priest with the intention of marrying her, but Cyrano suggests they she and Christian marry instead, which is WILD lol. De Guiche is upset and he ends up sending their company to the war. Cyrano continues to write letters from Christian to Roxanne and vows to keep him alive so he can return to Roxanne. They end up being there for a long time and De Guiche makes the choice to send them to the front lines on a suicide mission. Christian, after the soldiers sing a great song, decides he wants to write a letter only to find out that Cyrano already wrote one. He wants to read it and does and realizes that Cyrano loves Roxanne. He then finds out that Cyrano had been writing her more letters than Christian thought, and he says that it’s Cyrano that Roxanne truly loves, it’s his soul. He tells Cyrano that he needs to tell Roxanne everything because it’s her choice to choose who she loves, since she loves Christian but perhaps truly loves Cyrano’s soul. Then, in a fit of emotion, he runs off and gets killed. Stupid. You say you wanted her to choose Christian BUT THEN YOU TOOK HER CHOICE AWAY! Stupid boy. The ending with Cyrano and Roxanne I didn’t mind as much but Christian’s end really angers me. *End Spoilers*
Christian & Cyrano. I guess this could be attributed to the story, but I’ve seen different versions of this story (unbeknownst to me lol) where Christian and Cyrano become or are friends. I feel like this movie did them both a disservice by not having them be friends. They’re friendly and Christian clearly believes they’re friends but it doesn’t seem that Cyrano feels/thinks the same. I think that really shines a negative light on Cyrano and makes the ending feel unearned.
The Music/The Dancing. First things first, I like the instrumentals and I think the songs are ultimately fine. But I feel like there were things they did with it that don’t work. The biggest thing is that the music in a lot of ways take away from the story and the purity of it. I’m not a Cyrano purist so I’m not mad it’s a musical, I just wish the music added more depth. It feels shallow. I think it’s clear that Peter Dinklage can sing a bit and I feel like I’ve heard him sing well before, but I don’t think he was that great here lol. He’s fine but he’s also noticeably the weakest singer. They even have him rap a bit in the beginning. My friend made a comment about Hamilton, and I can see why she’d say that. But I think he does a lot of talking that kind of turns into singing lol. At least for me, it’s kind of funny and feels out of place in the movie, even though I kind of get the intention but I don’t like it. Christian talks about how he’s inarticulate and always has been around women, I think that’s fine, but then he turns around and sings an articulate and honest song lol. I know that in musicals, the songs usually are their thoughts or are vehicles to say things they feel like they can’t say by speaking… but since the whole thing is Cyrano writes the love letters on behalf of Christian, Christian could have dictated through song or just written what he was singing lol. It’s strange. I also feel like, if they wanted to maintain that this man wasn’t articulate, that he could have sang in that first song (which was a reprise of Roxanne’s first song by the way, cute) where he talks about being inarticulate (though he could have just wrote her what he sang lol) and then have him be part of that song in the end where the soldiers sing as they send letters to their loved ones, Christian could have had the last verse as he prepared to write a letter to Roxanne. Also, the dancing is kind of funny lol. I get what they were going for, but it wasn’t quite working for me, at least not all the time.
Overall, this review is super overdue, but I did very much like this movie. I liked the acting from the three leads, I thought they all had good chemistry with each other. I liked the music for the most part and I will say I listened to it on Apple music, and I found it very nice to listen to. Perhaps just not in the movie itself, with what’s playing on screen lol. I really like Christian’s Reprise of Roxanne’s song. I played that one a lot. I think the movie beautiful to look at and I like the story for the most part. The movie unfortunately is at the mercy of the original story which has some weird story elements, but I think it works for the most part. On the other hand, while I think the music is fine, I don’t think it works that well as a musical and I think the music with the film feels shallow. I also think Peter Dinklage was the weakest singer of the leads and he sings quite a bit. I also really wish the movie leaned into Christian and Cyrano’s friendship, even if Cyrano didn’t really consider Christian as a friend, Christian did, and I wish we got to see them hang out with each other way more. Plus, I didn’t like the ending period lol. But I would totally watch again. I might even buy lol. So, I recommend it lol.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Cyrano? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! What other “Cyrano” film is your favorite? There are a lot out there!
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