A cinematic adaptation of Erica Schmidt’s 2018 musical, itself based on the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano focuses on a complicated love triangle between the titular Cyrano (Peter Dinklage), a brave and witty guard who is in love with his close friend, the beautiful and similarly sharp Roxanne (Haley Bennett), who in turn is in love with the handsome but inarticulate Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr). Convinced that his appearance would kill any chance of a relationship with Roxanne, and not wanting to dispel the magic of his friend’s love at first sight, Cyrano concocts a plan with Christian to use the former’s words with the latter’s beauty, creating the ideal lover. However, this plan is not without its deadly consequences.
It’s a fairly standard miscommunication-based romance story – perhaps a little outdated – but this production elevates the classic tale through its fantastic cinematography and gorgeous visuals. Melding the visual languages of cinema and theatre together, the film brings the Paris of the 1600s to life, imbuing it with vibrant energy and enhancing the various emotions on show in the story, making for a constantly shifting and engaging cinematic landscape.
The movie is also helped greatly by its immensely talented cast, who add extra depth and nuance to the already solid script. Dinklage absolutely steals the show as Cyrano, painting a complex portrait of simultaneous strength and vulnerability with his multifaceted performance of the leading role. Bennett and Harrison Jr support him with similarly strong performances, playing off the world-weary Cyrano with their youthful idealism and naiveté while also having room for their own strong moments of pathos.
Unfortunately, if there’s one place the film really suffers, it’s in the music. While performed with emotion, bolstered by great choreography and boasting some appropriately clever lyrics, the songs themselves tend to be somewhat forgettable. Sometimes this is a pacing issue where the tunes don’t have space to really breathe in the wider narrative, at other times it’s simply a case of similar-sounding songs, but tragically the musical elements are often the weakest part of this musical.
Cyrano is a solid adaptation of a classic story, perhaps not providing any surprises but achieving exactly what it set out to do with generous heaps of style. It’s maybe not the most exciting tale in the world, but it’s a brilliant spectacle and a showcase of great talent in both its cast and production crew.
Cyrano is released nationwide on 14th January 2022.
Watch the trailer for Cyrano here: