I have had Cyrano on my watch list for ages, but I knew I had to be in the right mood for it, it was going to be a all lovey-dovey. Last night, I was in that mood, so I put it on.
All I knew about the movie was, that it was based on the story Cyrano de Bergerac, a French artist, poet and duellist who lived around the 1600s. I know there was a version with Gerard Depardieu in 1990, but I’m more familiar with the updated version Roxanne (1987) with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah.
Oddly enough, I saw Roxanne about a month ago and it’s still a fun movie, it’s charming and it holds up well. Now, I thought that Cyrano was going to be the same thing, a ‘rom-com set in the old days of France’. I try not to look up much about movies before watching them, so I’m nicely surprised.
The movie is set in 17th Century France, but it’s not really a rom-com, it’s a musical. Now I have looked, it’s based on the stage musical by Edmond Rostand. I was a little taken aback when people started singing, but, if you read my review of West Side Story the other day, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a good musical.
Overall, Cyrano is a great musical. The songs are very well done, they fit the tone of the movie and are very engaging. In fact, some of the songs are filled with passion enough to make a whore blush.
The movie stars Peter Dinklage as Cyrano, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Ben Mendelsohn, Monica Dolan and Bashir Salahuddin. It is directed by Joe Wright with the screenplay done by Erica Schmidt.
The story focuses on Roxanne and three people that love her, well, I say love. There’s a Duke (Mendelsohn) who just wants to marry her for the status points. A hot young soldier, Christian, (Harrison) who’s loins are aflame whenever he sees her. And then there’s Cyrano (Dinklage) who has known Roxanne for many years but loved her from afar since he is the way he is. A man like that could never be loved by a woman like Roxanne.
If you know the story, there are no surprises, it’s a rich tapestry of Christian wanting to bed her, but his speech isn’t eloquent enough. The Duke knows she loves another, but he has the power to kill Christian, so he can have her. In the meantime, poor Cyrano is watching Christian trying to get the girl, and, annoyingly, she’s asked him to help. It gets complicated, you know, as these things always do.
I found the movie thoroughly engaging, the cast is great, although, I will say I wasn’t really a fan of Bennett at the start, I couldn’t see why everyone fancied her, but that’s just me. Bennett is an attractive lady, but not my cuppa. This didn’t detract from the movie though.
The only thing about the cast that did irk me a little was the diversity. I have no idea what 1600 French would look like (although I have a pretty good idea what it would smell like), but I can’t imagine many people of colour there. This wasn’t a big deal, it was just a shame it was made in today’s woke-centric world.
The direction was amazing! Some of the long and complex shots are beautifully done and there are also long shots of the actors, much like you would get in the stage version. I loved this, it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything as good as this, well, maybe something like West Side Story or Licorice Pizza.
Some of the songs, and the way they are written, are perfect. There’s one about how Roxanne loves getting the letters from Christian, so much so, she’s almost exploding with desire. The direction gives you that feeling of how ‘hot’ Roxanne is getting and really well done.
The photography, along with the music and songs, is just beautiful and I really enjoyed seeing something made so well. I imagine the stage show is very good, but I’m far too lazy to find out.
The only thing that I didn’t like with the movie, which seems to become a theme for me of late was, it’s just too long. The third act slowed down for me and I found I was reaching for my phone in the last 20 minutes or so. I don’t know if that’s just me or not, but I miss 90-minute movies.
I won’t spoil the end, but I will say, it’s not the same as Roxanne. If you know the story, you will know what happens, but for me, it was a surprise and I liked it.
Overall, Cyrano is a great movie. I see it as a date movie, there are no vampires or helicopters exploding, but there is a very good story, some genuinely good laughs and it is a beautiful experience. I would watch it again, but I totally get if it’s not your cuppa tea.