Hayley Bennett is Roxanne a seamstress who is being wooed by the dastardly duke of De Guiche as played by Ben Mendelsohn. Yet from afar, the fly that really threatens to sour his ointment is Peter Dinklage’s, Cyrano de Bergerac. A loquacious swordsman, Cyrano secretly pines for Roxanne and yet is unable to express his love to her. That is until she falls for Kelvin Harrison Jnr’s Christian. A newly appointed guard in his company, Cyrano offers to help the tongue-tied Christian woo Roxanne, but how long will Cyrano be able to keep his true affections hidden from Roxanne?
Peter Dinklage is a megastar throughout and Cyrano is worth seeing let alone for that…
As a cinematic remaking of Cyrano, the stage musical, Atonement director Joe Wright strikes a decent balance between drama and singing in this 2022 reimagining. Refusing to lean too hard on previous cinematic adaptions like 1987’s Roxanne or 1990’s Cyrano de Bergerac there are no comparisons here that would cause either Steve Martin or Gerard Depardieu to lose any sleep. In this version, Peter Dinklage’s Cyrano is very much his own man. Whether eviscerating a hammy actor in the first scene (the film’s best moment) or rapping his retorts whilst parrying fencing blows, Peter Dinklage clearly owns the film at this point and doesn’t let go. Hayley Bennett plays Roxanne as a smart woman who, whilst enjoying all the attention, isn’t wholly blind to the price she might have to pay and Ben Mendelsohn chews the scenery to which he is pointed as the villainous Duke de Guiche. Yet whilst Kelvin Harrison Jnr’s Christian is a welcome inclusion, it has to be said that Erica Schmidt’s script doesn’t really equip him with many scenes that convey his linguistic inadequacy in front of Roxanne.
As a result, Cyrano’s 2nd act drags through its playlist of songs up until the commencement of warfare with Cyrano and Christian sent to the front lines by Mendelsohn’s Duke de Guiche. Whereupon, hitting the right note, the film’s standout song Wherever I Fall is kicked off beautifully by Glen Hansard from 2007’s Once.
Sadly though, the ending is a bit undercooked compared to Depardieu’s electric confession in 1990. In a romantic comedy that doesn’t feel so much as boy meets girl, boy loses girl and gets girl back, it’s a case of boy gets poet, loses poet, discovers poet was in love with the girl all along and then… well, spoilers ahoy.
With the cinematography and acting being the strong draws here, if you’re a fan of the musical, this will probably suit you down to a tee. However, if you can’t look past some of the songs, whose lines are more spoken than sung, then you might not last the course.
One thing is clear though. Should there be any doubt, Peter Dinklage is a megastar throughout and Cyrano is worth seeing let alone for that.