Released: 24th February
Seen: 6th March

Cyrano Info

In 1897, playwright Edmond Rostand wrote Cyrano de Bergerac which would supposedly tell the life story of the real Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac. This play has been adapted several times since its creation, not only straight forward adaptations but even inspiring films such as The Ugly Truth or Sierra Burgess Is A Loser. Throughout the years there have also been several attempts to adapt this play into a stage musical, including one in 2019 that starred Peter Dinklage in the title role. It’s that adaptation that was turned into Cyrano, a film that was stunningly only nominated for one Oscar this year (but we’ll get to why that’s stunning in a little bit).

Cyrano follows the legendary titular Cyrano de Bergerac (Peter Dinklage), a man known for his great wit and ability with a sword who is also regularly mocked due to his height. Cyrano is childhood friends with the beautiful Roxanne (Haley Bennett) and also just happens to be in love with her but unable/unwilling to tell her out of fear that she would reject him just as everyone else in society has. It also doesn’t help that Roxanne has fallen head over heels for Christian de Neuvillette (Kelvin Harrison Jr), a new recruit to the guard.

Roxanne begs Cyrano to get Christian to write love letters to her and Cyrano agrees but soon learns that Christian is not exactly great when it comes to poetry or expressing himself in general… so they hatch a plan where Cyrano will write the letters for Christian…oh, while all this is going on there’s a big war happening but I’m sure that won’t in any way create a source of inevitable tragedy that befits this kind of grandiose dramatic story.

Cyrano, at its heart, is a tragic love story where Cyrano uses his skill in order to help someone else woo the woman he loves and this film captures that romantic tragedy well. From the very first time someone opens their mouth to sing there’s that powerful combination of romance and sorrow that will end up basically running throughout the entire film. The songs might not exactly be toe tappers but they serve the story and the tone of the film well, especially when the time comes for our lead to sing a song and let us feel all the pain that basically defines Cyrano’s life.

Cyrano (2022) - Haley Bennett, Peter Dinklage
Cyrano (2022) – Haley Bennett, Peter Dinklage

It’s that central performance by Peter Dinklage that basically gives this film a reason to exist because every second he’s on screen it’s another reminder why he is one of the greatest actors working today. From his bombastic glorious entrance in a theater where he verbally eviscerates a hammy actor to the final moments of the story, Peter Dinklage plays his part with such brilliance that it genuinely stuns me that this isn’t a role he gets an Oscar nod for because he’s holding everything together like a goddamn champion. Sure, everyone else is fine but Peter is why you will sit through two hours of this film.

The actual film itself is mostly fine, albeit a little slow at times. Its grandiose look doesn’t really match with the energy, it’s almost like this is an adaptation of a play from the 1800s and has the tempo to match, which is fine except it can make for a weird transition when the musical numbers begin out of nowhere. Basically make sure you’re well caffeinated or able to hit pause because there’s going to be moments when you might feel the urge to drift off into the ether, only to be pulled back when you hear Cyrano say something witty.

In terms of the Oscar nomination that put me in the cinema to watch this, the costumes are the absolutely fine pieces of period wear one might expect from this play and they look really lovely. Will it win? No, not a chance and when the time comes for the big Oscar post I’ll explain why but frankly this was never going to win a costume award. Maybe it could’ve gotten Dinklage one, maybe something for Sound or cinematography but nope, it’s only nominated for the costumes and those are fine but absolutely nothing particularly special.

Cyrano is certainly a good film, led by a fantastic lead performance that just shows how damn lucky we are to be living in a time when Peter Dinklage is around. It’s certainly a film that’s worth seeing, there’s a lot about it to enjoy but it has a bit of a pacing problem and I can’t deny that it feels like it’s a musical just because they wanted to show off that Dinklage can also sing on top of all his other talents. Might not go down in history as a great, but it’s really damn good which is often enough to get the job done.

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