Cyrano is unmemorable cinema headlined by sterling performances

First time I saw the trailer in theaters for Cyrano was back in late September or early October. FOUR months later and (I kid you not) 40 to 50 viewings of the trailer later, I basically understood the plot beat for beat going into the film without having seen it. And to my faux surprise, it played out exactly how I imagined. Based on a tragedy of unconsummated love, Cyrano is a traditional romance narrative where all the story beats are laid out fairly early, relying on the musical numbers and the liveliness of Joe Wright’s direction to carry it home. This approach leaves the onus on the music and while the pieces and dances are good, they’re not enough to satisfy our craving for juicier melodrama.

However, Peter Dinklage is excellent as the suave Cyrano de Bergerac, able to play the hurt lover and the confident romantic at once. Many don’t realize the play has been around since the 1920s and less know of the original Cyrano de Bergerac played by José Ferrer, who subsequently won an Oscar for his performance. Nonetheless, Dinklage is a more than worthy follow-up and gives the character a new dynamic. Dinklage is so effortlessly likable and empathetic, but doubles as the most competent. He’s essentially the perfect man with one small imperfection and he lets it limit himself in his personal endeavors. 

The issue with the story stems from the formulaic writing that fails to engage on the same level as the original play. While I do think it’s well directed in the musical and dance accompaniment, the writing is just a flat-ball of nothing romance cues that feels less than passionate or earned. The central conflict of uncommunicated love can be a powerful theme when handled with care, but it’s not explored in a way that feels satisfying in Wright’s version.

So, while I was charmed by Dinklage, Kelvin Harrison Jr and Haley Bennett’s Performances, the story was too unengaging. However, it’s a middle of the road cinema, not awful but hollow and unmemorable.

Rating

★★★/ Out of 5★s (70)

(81-79-85-80-75-80-86-76-83-79-60-60–50-70: 75.47)


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