- Emma Simmonds
- February 24, 2022
Roston’s 19th-century play is given a wonderful musical circumstance, led by the mournful Peter Dinklage.
There were several film versions of Edmond Roston’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac over the years, some are accurately conveyed, others weakly inspired. From Steve Martin’s 1987 car Раксанаa 1990 French film adaptation of the Oscars with Gerard Depardieu and a cute amazing teen film Half of it in 2020 it seemed that all possible paths had already been explored. However, the latest film adaptation of this classic is just named Cyranofrom Redemption director Joe Wright is releasing Erica Schmidt’s 2018 stage musical. Although Schmidt wasn’t the first person to turn material into a musical on stage, this is the first time the songs have been included in a major film, and it turns out to be surprisingly delightful.
Redirecting events in the late 19th century, the film stars Peter Dinklage (who is married to Schmidt) as Cyran and Hailey Bennett (who is married to Wright) as the object of his Roxanne commitment. The couple repeats their roles from a stage production where Dinklage’s miniature height replaces the play’s big nose because its protagonist is romantically ignored. Calvin Harrison Jr. is Christian, a handsome bodyguard whom Roxana falls in love with immediately, and for whom the poetic Cyrano writes these famous letters. And Ben Mendelssohn plays the floor of the Duke of Guillaume (sometimes a little pantomime), whom Roxana decides to impose quite dangerously, despite aggressive courtship.
Schmidt, acting here as a screenwriter, retains the main plot points but optimizes the story, while the occasional rocky musical numbers give Wright the perfect occasion to create style, synchronicity and engaging compositions. The honey glow makes everything warm and appealing, and when the heroine’s meringue-like dresses and constantly fleeing strawberry-blonde curls are charming, in the often wild depiction of an overly elegant and powdered era there is a share of Peter Greenway’s glorious grotesques.
Sparkling and radiant Bennett is an invigorating Roxana who plays her as a man who knows his worth and demands a well-deserved lover. This attitude is embodied in one of the great songs of this film, the grand ballad “I Need More”. Dinklage himself is not so much a singer, but more than that compensates for the gray charm and painfully reliable anguish. Cyrano travels vigorously; unlike many musicals, the songs don’t prolong things unnecessarily, and the film comes out in two hours. It’s a good dose of romance and heartache after Valentine’s Day.
Cyrano in cinemas from Friday 25 February.
Sirana’s review – Roston’s 19th-century play is given a superb musical ending, led by the mournful Peter Dinklage
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