Cyrano (2021)


Based on a famous play, Cyrano is a musical extravaganza full of romance, heartache, passion, love letters, beautiful costumes, and people falling in love at first sight, either for shallow reasons such as her beauty or because they are in love with the idea of love itself. It's a bit too sappy for my taste, but will cause many audiences' hearts to flutter.


Cyrano (Peter Dinklage) has been in love with the beautiful Roxanne (Hayley Bennett) ever since they grew up together in the same village. Now, he is a war hero despite his small size, and she is one of the most-sought-after virgins in the country, wooed by powerful men who wish to possess and own her. But she won't have it. Roxanne longs to fall in love, to fall head over heels, to be taken at a glance -- and one day in the theater, she happens to look into the crowd and lock eyes with Christian (Kelvin Harrison). Both of them are enraptured, entranced, mad about each other, though they know not one another's names and have never spoken a word. Full of dreams of learning who he is and hoping he is not a simpleton, and knowing he comes from Cyrano's regiment, Roxanne breathlessly asks the dwarf to intervene for her, and ask this beautiful man to write her passionate love letters to stir her soul. Unfortunately, she does not know that in the process, she has trod poor Cyrano's heart under her pointed shoes and ground it into dust. But out of pure love for her, and pity for the rather stupid Christian, who cannot string together a full sentence of his feelings, Cyrano agrees to write letters to her, as Christian. Little does he know how much this will further wrench his poor, dear heart... or that they are crossing a powerful man (Ben Mendelsohn), who intends to possess Roxanne for himself!


I knew nothing about the play going into this, so most of it caught me by surprise, including the tragic ending. I was not a fan, although it all seems to have a satirical bent about foolish people doing foolish things in the name of attraction rather than love; for all of them except Cyrano are shallow and selfish. I do like him as a hero, because he's uncommon -- a scrapper with a romantic heart, who has a bad temper, chases off a theater performer with a battery of insulting words, and then writes gut-wrenchingly romantic poetry about meeting Roxanne on the far side of the moon when the darkness has swallowed them whole. That's where the strength of the story lies, in that and a few powerful songs (including I Want More, a powerhouse of hungry desire) -- but I didn't love the rap or feel it went with the rest of the production, which is gorgeous. Beautiful costumes and sets fill in the background, along with wit and charm and humor... but it also feels slow at times, the characters are not that likable other than Cyrano, and I could never fully get caught up in it, because I had such little respect for its main lovers.


There are some splendid scenes, though, especially on the balcony and in the desperation of Peter Dinklage's performance. It's heartfelt, and because he's a dwarf and not the "large-nosed man" of the original play, it drives home all the more profoundly how lovesick he is, while being fully aware that he has no chance with Roxanne, because she will never look at him in that way. The scene where he thinks she is confessing that she has affections for him, only to break his heart, is difficult to watch, because his face so clearly expresses his mutilated heart. It's sensual and splendid, but not a film I shall ever re-watch until I know it by heart.

Sexual Content:
Sensual lyrics about needing to feel aroused by a love letter; a woman reads said letter and appears to be in ecstasy; a powerful man says he intends to have a woman, whether or not she consents; she refuses to wear a particular dress because the color red reminds her of sin; lots of cleavage and scenes of women dressing and undressing or dancing in their underclothes (corset, chemise, bloomers). Mild innuendo and kissing.
A couple abuses of God's name and minor swear words.
Two men duel with rapiers on a stage, one attacks the other from behind and is run through and killed; men attack Cyrano in retaliation in an alley and he beats all of them up; men go to war and die, a man dies from his wounds on the battlefield.

Charity's Novels!

Get caught up on her fantastic books!