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Film / Cyrano

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Cyrano is a 2021 musical romantic drama film directed by Joe Wright, based on Erica Schmidt and The National's eponymous 2018 stage musical of the same name, itself an adaptation of the 1897 French stage play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. The film stars Peter Dinklage in the title role, Haley Bennett as Roxanne, Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Christian, Bashir Salahuddin as Le Bret and Ben Mendelsohn as De Guiche.

The film premiered at Telluride on September 2, 2021 and saw an awards season one-week engagement starting December 17. It was theatrically released on February 25, 2022.

Cyrano provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Diversity: Due to being played by Peter Dinklage, Cyrano now has dwarfism while Christian and Sister Claire are portrayed as black and Tamil respectively.
  • Adaptational Villainy: To be fair, de Guiche was always the villain in the story of Cyrano de Bergerac. While the musical's stage version did have him attempt to make amends, this movie adaptation drops the acts of redemption he performs in the later part of Rostand's play, when he stays with the Cadets in their suicidal attack, and when he attempts to warn Cyrano that he is being targeted for murder. (For what it's worth, film de Guiche does seem to regret ordering the Cadets into the worst danger, saying with apparent sincerity that the choice was made "for my King, and not my spite.")
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Montfleury is just as terrible as Cyrano asserts he is: pompous, wooden, and overdressed.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Cyrano has known Roxanne since she was a girl. He spends most of the film being unable to profess his feelings, considering himself unworthy of her. By the time she's able to tell him that she's felt the same way all along, he dies.
  • Demoted to Extra: Ragueneau has what amounts to a cameo.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In Rostand's play, Cyrano is murdered. Here, he dies from a combination of malnutrition and the effects of an old wound.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: In the original play, Cyrano is of a normal height and is only tormented by the fact that he has a big nose. Here, he has dwarfism instead (his nose is normal), and his lifelong angst is changed to one born out of said condition.
  • Downer Ending: Christian dies in the war, leaving Roxanne devastated and Cyrano both crushed and unable to confess the truth to Roxanne, as Christian implored. When he finally manages it, he's on death's door and dies in Roxanne's arms.
  • Entitled to Have You: As de Guiche's Villain Song reveals, he feels he "deserves" to have Roxanne.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Cyrano is introduced by sweeping into a theater, embarrassing the actor on stage for his poor performance, and then getting into (and winning) a sword fight against someone who insults his honor.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Just listen to de Guiche's Villain Song!
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Cyrano sees that Christian makes Roxanne genuinely happy, and since he believes that he himself is an inappropriate suitor to her, he agrees to help Christian and never undermines or sabotages him.
  • "I Want" Song: "Someone to Say", performed by Roxanne and the ensemble.
    "I'd give anything for someone to say/That they can't live without me and they'll be there forever/I'd give anything for someone to say to me/That no matter how bad it gets, they won't turn away from me."
  • Love at First Sight: Christian and Roxanne.
  • Love Triangle: Cyrano is in love with Roxanne, who loves him back, but is completely unaware of his feelings; as a result, she ends up falling in love with Christian, who accepts Cyrano's help without knowing of his love for Roxanne.
  • The Musical: The plot has twelve songs, performed by characters.
  • Nice Guy: Christian isn't the wittiest, but he's friendly and brave. Even when he learns that Cyrano has been in love with Roxanne the whole time, he insists that Cyrano own up to his feelings and let Roxanne decide for herself.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Despite the story taking place in France, the (largely British and American) cast use their own accents. Justified as it's presumed they're speaking in native French and therefore wouldn't have accents of French speaking English.
  • Playing Cyrano: Christian wants to seduce Roxanne but he has zero poetic talent to do so, so he asks the literate Cyrano to write him things to make it work.
  • Race Lift: Christian is usually white (assumed to be since he's a 17th century French nobleman) and this was the case in all previous adaptations. Here, he's played by Black actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. Le Bret and Sister Claire, who also would usually be assumed to be white, are played by actors of color as well (Bashir Salahuddin and Anjana Vasan, respectively).
  • Redhead In Green: Roxanne at the beginning of the film, visually setting her apart from all the other nobles at the theatre, who are dressed in pastels.
  • Setting Update: Though the original play and most adaptations tend to take place in the middle of the 17th Century (when the real-life Cyrano de Bergerac lived), this version's costumes suggest that it takes place roughly one hundred years later.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Someone to Say" has one later on, by Cyrano and Christian after they come to an agreement for Christian to romance Roxanne with Cyrano's words.
  • Villain Song: De Guiche has one, titled "What I Deserve", after Roxanne and Christian marry in secret.