I have seen a few adaptations of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, but I have never previously experienced a musical version that has touched my heart like this new movie by Joe Wright. Taking a very different approach, Wright’s film emphasizes the more sad and tragic aspects of the original story and takes it into new levels of sorrow than has ever been experienced in previous adaptions. That is not to say that Wright’s Cyrano is an absolutely sullen affair. The movie actually delivers an experience that appropriately captures the ups and downs that a romantic story of its caliber deserves.

Peter Dinklage stars as the titular protagonist Cyrano, an intelligent, but cunning warrior, whose limitations involve his diminuitive stature. The beautiful Roxanne (Haley Bennett), a woman with whom, for some time, he has had much love, longs for true love, but has yet to find herself a worthy suitor. She finds herself attracted to the more physically appealing Christian de Neuvillette (Kelvin Harrison Jr), a fellow soldier of Cyrano’s who lacks Cyrano’s gift for gab and ability to appeal to Roxanne’s more intelligent longings. As expected, Cyrano reluctantly agrees to assist Christian with his pursuit of Roxanne’s heart, as Christian finds himself equally interested in a romance with Cyrano’s true love.

Based on Erica Schmidt’s stage musical of the same name, Cyrano delivers an experience that is joyful, exciting, and also heart-breaking. Mixed with swash-buckling action, enjoyable songs, and moving takes on the original story, the film adds much more palpable and powerful levels to the original story and often surpasses other adaptations on the original story. Director Joe Wright, who has previous shown great skills in his period pieces Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and Darkest Hour, takes on a story that has touched the hearts of so many already, and gives it his own indelible stamp.

For the most part, the entire cast of the movie performs well, but it is Peter Dinklage who appropriately shines the brightest here. While he isn’t an amazing singer, the undeniably talented actor still manages to confidently perform exceptionally in this musical. As his paramour Roxanne, Haley Bennett endows her character with much robustness and passion. As Christian, Kelvin Harrison Jr beautifully embodies the weaknesses to which insecure men in love often fall prey.

While the story in this movie mostly plays out as expected, it is the writing, direction, and mostly the acting that manage to make this adaptation work so well, that one can easily get caught up in the drama and get caught up in it all. Cyrano proves to be a very passionate and exciting new adaptation of the classic story and is definitely worth the time for those who have much love for the source material. As for those unfamiliar with the story, this film would be a wonderful introduction to this timeless love story.

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