Cyrano De Bergerac

"Extraordinary"

Cyrano De Bergerac Review


Edmond Rostand's 1898 play Cyrano de Bergerac is a definitive example of European romanticism: the truth is buried, beauty is found to be skin deep and virtue goes unrewarded.

After surviving Steve Martin's 1988 comedic translation, Roxanne, Cyrano has been resurrected for the screen again, this time in its native French. This latest version, is involving and depressing. See it alone, or go with someone you love who can cheer you up afterwards.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it takes place amid the swarming streets of Paris, where cadets go out to "make cuckolds" every night. Cyrano de Bergerac (played by international up-and-comer and France's answer to Michael Caine, Gerard Depardieu) is a man to be reckoned with, thanks to his poetic gifts, ostentatious swordplay, and giant nose (the largest in France, we are told). His ugliness, however, denies him the joys of female companionship, as he explains at great length (length being the problem, after all). "My nose precedes me by 15 minutes," he muses.

Of course, it is one woman in particular who concerns him: his cousin Roxane, played by Anne Brochet. Roxane, however, is attracted to a pretty, airheaded young cadet, Christian de Neuvillette (Vincent Perez), but Christian lacks the gift of gab so important to the passionate affair. Curious to see if the combination of his words and Christian's looks can win Roxane, Cyrano offers to provide Christian with the "wit and eloquence," he needs. Cyrano writes Christian's love letters, tells him how to talk to Roxane and even speaks for him in a balcony scene. She's won, and she declares her love for Christian's "soul," which in a sense is really Cyrano's.

Though romantics have embellished his life, Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person, a French soldier who fought gallantly in the Spanish War and subsequently wrote comedies. The filmmakers have painstakingly recreated the period, though their effort seems slightly wasted - the story has little to do with the century (the 17th) or the war Cyrano and Christian are fighting (which war it is doesn't really matter, since somebody was always fighting).

What matters is that, after decades of pretense, the French have finally learned to make gripping films. In making his rich and colorful movie, Rappeneau distances himself somewhat from the sweeping story, allowing the events to keep moving without disengaging the audience. At its best the film imitates life almost perfectly, as in the dark rainy night that hides Cyrano as he declares his emotion to the unseeing Roxane, or the lovely garden setting in which Roxane meets Cyrano. Not that the film shows off - to borrow a phrase from Cyrano, its elegance is interior.

As for le lug, Depardieu is no Jose Ferrer (who played the first screen Cyrano in 1950), but he is well suited to the role.

Under the control of Depardieu's tyrannical wit and physical presence, Cyrano rampages across the screen. The character is a compelling combination of strength and weakness: He is admired for his freedom of thought, yet chained by his repressed emotion. All who have loved unsuccessfully, or whose love has been thwarted by cowardice, find in him their demon. Our sympathies go with him.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 137 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st December 1990

Distributed by: Orion Home Video

Production compaines: Hachette Première, Films A2, DD Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 28

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Cyrano de Bergerac, as Roxane, as Christian de Neuvillette, as Comte de Guiche, as Sister Colette, as The Little Sister

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.