Coming to theatres from writer/director Alexis Michalik and Roadshow Attractions is the story of a writer desperate for inspiration with CYRANO, MY LOVE.
Edmond Rostand (Thomas Soliveres) opened and closed a play that just doesn’t seem to reach the masses. Two years later in December of 1897 in Paris, Edmond has two children and no prospects of money or ideas to write about. Wife Rosemonde (Alice de Lencquesaing) remains supportive while managing to raise two small children.
Someone else who believes in him is actress Sarah Bernhardt (Clementine Celarie) who tells Edmond that actor and theatre owner Jean Coquelin (Igor Gotesman) wants to know what he has written lately. Edmond goes to the theatre to meet and presents vague ideas that excites Coquelin. A little confused, he learns that the theatre is in trouble and the actor is looking for a hit.
Edmond’s friend George (Benjamin Bellecour) wants help to woo the heart of theatre dresser and actress Jeanne (Lucie Boujenah). Being his mouthpiece of verbal love, she is taken with ‘George’ and wants them to continue to write while she is away. While in the local eatery, Edmond speaks with proprietor Monsieur Honore (Jean-Michel Martial) and is helped even more toward an idea.
It is a story of Cyrano, a man with a large nose who is in love with a woman he feels he can’t have. When a friend falls for the lovely Roxanne, Cyrano helps them get closer by providing the words needed. Edmond feels he is onto something and Coquelin couldn’t be happier. There are two weeks before opening and Edmond is writing the play as real life unfolds.
What he doesn’t expect are even more twists that turn into a stage production the likes of which none of them have ever experienced – actor or audience.
Soliveres as Edmond is a man who just wants to write something meaningful and that his wife and family would be proud of. Feeling defeated from his previous play, it is his friendship with Bernhardt that is the stepping stone to success. I love that Soliveres plays this role with heart, soul and wit so that falling into the story is so graceful and easy for the viewer. He is naïve, charming and tortured as all playwrights are and no more so than a 1900’s French playwright.
Lencquesaing as Rosemond is a wife that should be given sainthood. She believes in her husband and the talent he has with the written word. Even when others might not understand what he is trying to do – she does. Managing a household and children with little money, Rosemond is a heroine to be applauded. On the other side she is also a woman that doesn’t take kindly to the prospect of someone else interfering with her family.
Gotesman as Coquelin is an actors actor stuffing inside the suit of a theatre owner. It is clear he loves being on stage but is now ready to take on a role that is written by the skin of Edmond’s teeth and Coquelin believes in it! I adore that about his character. He rolls with the punches and develops the character of Cyrano based on faith in Edmond and belief that anything on the stage is possible. He’s also pretty funny.
Bellecour as George is a ladies man for sure but there is something about Jeanne that he can’t get away from. He’s a good friend to Edmond which isn’t repaid very well. Boujenah as Jeanne is taken with George already but when Edmond becomes his voice, she is woo’d right off her feet and out of her knickers! Celarie as Bernhardt is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the stage. She see something in Edmond that he just can’t manage to see in himself. She is bold and has a flare that I really would liked to have seen more of.
Martial as Monsieur Honore hold the hope of everyone in the film. He sees Edmond as a man on the verge of becoming everything he wanted to be, he doesn’t suffer fools lightly and his eyes always shine with a joy we could all learn from. I just wanted to give him a shout out because, and I’ll be honest, he looks like Dennis Haysbert but speaks like a warrior poet.
CYRANO, MY LOVE is such a joy for anyone who loves stage plays and period pieces. It has everything! There is love, suffering, adventure, family, twists, plots, friendship and even a sword fight scene that Conquelin wants so badly. There are personal stumbles, professional confusion, mishaps, misunderstandings, muses and joy that can only be found in the characters.
The cinematography is amazing, the costuming is one for the books and the cast give the film such depth and richness that I absolutely will see it again. There have been incarnations of the story of Cyrano de Bergerac including musicals, ballet and a spin with the 1987 Steve Martin version of Roxanne that I thoroughly still enjoy.
The real Cyrano is none other than Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac who was a novelist and playwright. A playwright who inspired another playwright, Cyrano was an educated man who also spent time in the military, did fall in love with a beautiful woman and died under mysterious circumstances. Edmond Rostand took things from his life and brought a play to the stage by reaching into our hearts, but seeing how he did all that is just as much an experience as the play itself.
This film is such a joy!
In the end – he had three weeks to write a masterpiece!