“...a situation when a nerdy guy helps a handsome guy date the girl that he loves by telling him what to say and what to do.”
“Our boss asked us to meet him here and he is not here yet, he just tried to put us together, he cyrano’d us. Let’s make him win, kiss me.”
The Urban Dictionary definition is surprisingly accurate. Commonly taunted soldier Cyrano (Peter Dinklage) is in love with his childhood friend Roxanne (Haley Bennett), and uses the man that Roxanne loves, Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) to communicate his own love with her through letters. Christian himself is not very romantic, and seeks Cyrano’s help, and as events become more complicated, Cyrano must decide whether to reveal his own feelings for Roxanne.
On top of all that, Cyrano is a musical, and a damn good one at that. It excels in subtlety and avoids large-scale musical numbers, which gives the songs the quiet focus they need. Written by Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the music conveys the emotional resonance to help us better understand the characters and what they’re feeling at any given moment. Whether it’s Christian and Cyrano pining for Roxanne through their letters, Ben Mendelsohn’s De Guiche explicating his problematic opinions about women, or anything in between, the songs of Cyrano are beautiful, heartbreaking and catchy all at the same time.
It’s a tale as old as time, but it’s important to remember that the story of Cyrano transcends those tropes because it played a major role in their invention. I found myself getting swept up in the romance and idealism, and that’s primarily to do with the characters and the performers bringing them to life. Dinklage plays Cyrano so earnestly, and Harrison brings a hopeful and honest angle to the character of Christian. Somehow, I rooted for both of them, and found myself surprised by the story developments (even on my second viewing). Bennett is the perfect Roxanne, balancing a want for real love and a practicality that may have been lacking from the character in previous adaptations.
Is cyrano a verb? No, but perhaps after this film, it should be. Cyrano hits all the right notes, delivering an incredibly underrated musical and a stunningly beautiful romance all in one. Remember, when it attains the coveted ‘CLASSIC’ status…I was the harbinger of Cyrano’s glory.
Cyrano is now playing in select theaters.