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

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

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.