Directed by Joe Wright.
Starring Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn, Bashir Salahuddin, and Ray Strachan.
Too shy to woo Roxanne himself, wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac helps young Christian capture her heart through love letters.
Speaking as a person with a physical disability, one of the most frustrating tropes is an individual (male or female) unable or too shy to seek love due to the slightest disfigurements that probably wouldn’t affect anyone, especially the characters within a theatrical or Hollywood production. . that does not mean Cyrano can’t stand the test of time recounting their 17th-century love triangle while depicting its titular wordsmith with an enlarged nose, but Erica Schmidt reimagining Edmond Rostand’s beloved work (and writing this version) centered on a dwarf Cyrano is a no-brainer logical update, which means it’s also no surprise that it’s been showered with praise and has now been adapted into a dazzling, unabashedly, infectiously romantic Joe Wright movie. Reprising his role from that musical as Cyrano is Peter Dinklage, who knows how to get into the headspace and express romance-related insecurities that challenge so many others with a disability. It’s an excellent performance on its own, but again, as a physically handicapped person, he’s also one of the most powerful relationships with a character I’ve ever felt.
Cyrano has a crush on his old friend Roxanne (played by Haley Bennett with more than enough energy and vivacity to match the lovefest’s unabashedly melodramatic tone), but he’s apparently always terrified to confess those feelings for fear of rejection because of his looks. He is a competent fighter, though what he really has going for him is a deep vocabulary and poetic prowess, especially when he writes letters. So the question is how far words can take someone in romance when love understandably stems from aesthetic preference and sexual attraction in some cases as much as personality. Maybe Roxanne doesn’t mind any of that. To us, it’s apparent that she would probably reciprocate her emotions (she’s stubborn not to fall in love with someone for superficial reasons like wealth). Still, the well of self-loathing and insecurity is endless, making Cyrano’s pain incredibly sympathetic.
To complicate matters, Roxanne also has eyes for a soldier friend of Cyrano’s, the handsome and well-intentioned Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr., capable of everything from drama to singing to the occasional comic relief) unable to articulate himself verbally or in language. the page correctly. . And if there’s one thing Roxanne values in a potential love interest above all else, it’s flattering love letters. As a result, Cyrano makes the difficult decision to write letters to Christian, imbuing them with her own thoughts and soul, courting her in an indirect way. Christian has no idea Cyrano loves Roxanne, so he’s more than willing to go along with the charade. Although, he brings up the point that sometimes it’s hard to believe that some of these characters don’t realize what the others are really thinking or doing.
There’s also a domineering and possessive Duke (a rather one-dimensional character played with intense jealous rage by Ben Mendelsohn) determined to marry Roxanne, even if he has to send Cyrano and Christian into battle, hoping they’ll meet their match. disappearance. While these elements surely have their place in the story, he feels like they work more on stage. like movie, Cyrano it’s most engaging when it looks at inner doubts and a gray area of the hopeless romantic’s questionable actions. It can be argued that, despite some fabulous songs in the third act, the narrative could be tighter and more satisfying in the second act, although it would remove the tragic element.
Regardless, the period piece’s details and Joe Wright’s production values are, as always, vividly exquisite and bursting with color. The gripping musical performances may not be staged as dynamically as they could be, embracing theatrical roots. That’s a good idea when Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett are emotionally captivating. Cyrano, while flawed, is a great achievement for stories centered around characters with disabilities. While I don’t necessarily care who gets nominated for an Oscar or not, I’m leaning towards Peter Dinklage. He deserves it.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the reviews editor for Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]