Coming to theatres this week from director Joe Wright and MGM is a tale of unrequited love all written by the one and only CYRANO.
Roxanne (Haley Bennett) is a lovely young woman living in 17th century France trying to get by. Pushing to win her is De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn) who is wealthy and could easily solve all of her problems. One night at the theatre, Roxanne sees childhood friend soldier Cyrano (Peter Dinklage) and at the same time locks eyes with the handsome Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.).
The problem is Cyrano has been in love with Roxanne for so very long that he only wants her happy. When Roxanne tells him that she has been struck by love for Christian who is a soldier in Cyrano’s regiment, she asks her friend to help keep him safe from the war in France and asks for love letters.
Christian is beside himself realizing he does not have the gift of words like Cyrano. A plan is made that Cyrano would use his words of love to benefit Christian. Also, not wanting to give up on what he thinks he deserves, De Guiche persists in a way that Roxanne must find a way around. When she does, it has serious consequences.
Christian and Cyrano now both have to leave Roxanne to fight for their country and to fight to come home to the woman they both love.
Dinklage as Cyrano is nothing short of spectacular in this role. He has the humor, the gift of delivering a line that will either make you chuckle, cheer or feel your heart melt into a puddle. He mostly had me at the latter with the relatable feeling of unrequited love that we have all felt at some time in our lives. The ability to write his feeling to her, even though under the guise of Christian, gives him the outlet and still protect the two people he has come to care about.
Bennett as Roxanne is delightful and looking for someone to love. The clandestine meeting with Christian takes her breath away, and so much so that she enlists her childhood friend to make love happen. Deep down Bennett’s Roxanne already knows Cyrano’s feelings but, as the song she sings professes, she wants more.
Harrison Jr. as Christian is captivated by Roxanne and wants to keep her close. The problem is that he does not have the eloquence or vocabulary to woo her the way she wants. When Cyrano offers, Christian is hesitant believing it is not right. But to gives Roxanne what she wants most in her heart, he agrees. Harrison Jr. gives Christian the same heart and love as Cyrano which makes these two actors perfect together.
Mendelsohn as De Guiche is ruthless, unforgiving and believes he is entitled to whatever he wants – especially Roxanne. There is nothing in his character that gives off an air of care and concern for anyone but himself. Mendelsohn is such a versatile actor that can play characters with compassion and characters with evil intent with equal skill.
Other cast include Monica Dolan as Marie, Bashir Salahuddin as Le Bret, Joshua James as Valvert, Anjana Vasan as Sister Claire, Ruth Sheen as Mother Marthe, Mark Benton as Montfleury, Richard McCabe as the Priest, Pater Wight as Ragueneau, Tim McMullan as Jodelet, and Mike Shepherd as Marquis.
MGM is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television across all platforms. Owning one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content and is home to two of the longest-running and most successful film franchise in cinematic history with JAMES BOND and ROCKY. For more please visit www.mgm.com.
CYRANO premiered at the 48th Telluride Film Festival and has 6 award wins and 46 nominations including a nomination for Best Achievement in Costume Design for Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran.
What I love about this story is that it is about people and the difference of their insecurities. Roxanne is insecure because she needs something she can not really describe, Cyrano is insecure that he is not worthy of love and Christian is insecure because he does not have the eloquence of words and, dare we add, De Guiche is insecure using power to demand instead of lovingly earned.
Dinklage carries Cyrano with such soulfulness, and I emphatically enjoyed every moment he was on screen. Singing with Bennett in the final scenes is filled with more emotion than my being could handle yet I did not want it to end.
Set in the backdrop of an uncertain time in French history, everything seems rushed because, as is said, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. These three characters are living for the moment and for the one elusive emotion – a deep abiding love. The story is based on the 1897 Edmond Rostand play Cyrano de Bergerac.
In the end – have you ever loved someone?