In a similar concept to Shakespeare in Love, Edmond Rostand is struggling to find inspiration for his next play, that he is pressured to deliver in a few days. In this fiction, real life events give him the inspiration that he needs, and he goes so far as Playing Cyrano before making it the central idea of his play.
The plot is also about the preparation and execution of the first performance of the play, which was not guaranteed to be a success. Edmond was an unsuccesful playwright, and writing in verse was going out of fashion.
Having some knowledge of Cyrano de Bergerac, or having watched the 1990 film adaptation, may be useful, as this film pretends that many quotes were delivered in real life before being written into the play.
- Accidental Misnaming: Sarah Bernhardt keeps calling Rosemonde "Roseline".
- The Big Damn Kiss: Between Jeanne and Leo, Suzon and Jean, Maria and the two Corsican producers,Jeanne and Edmond and finally Edmond with his wife.
- Chekhov's Gun: Don't walk onto this dangerous trapdoor.
- Creator Cameo: Director Alexis Michalik plays Georges Feydeau, here a ridiculous rival of Edmond's who is often the butt of jokes.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Many scenes or discussions echo scenes from Cyrano de Bergerac.
- Executive Meddling: In universe:
- Constant Coquelin pushes his son Jean, who is a very incompetent actor, into a major role.
- The two Corsican producers push their love interest, Maria Legault, into the role of Roxanne.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Plays with the text of Cyrano de Bergerac.Edmond Rostand: Il faudrait sur le champ que je me l'amputasse !
Constant Coquelin: Putasse ?note
- Historical Person Punchline: Edmond meets a Russian man in a brothel, who accidently helps him with the plot. He happens to be Anton Chekhov.
- Indy Ploy: How Edmond writes Cyrano de Bergerac, in particular making up his most famous monologue from things that happen at the moment or pop on sight.
- Love Triangle: Between Edmond, his best friend Leo and Jeanne.
- The Mafia: The two Corsican producers sound Italian and are obviously involved in shady business.
- Playing Cyrano: Edmond Rostand does that before thinking it could be a good plot idea.
- A Round of Drinks for the House: In order to advertise the play, Honore, who owns a bar/restaurant, promises a free drink to whoever goes to the theater. That isn't enough, so he makes it a free meal to whoever watches the first act.
- Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Jean Coquelin is a very incompetent actor. He is brought to a brothel in the hope that no longer being a virgin will make him competent.
- Show Within a Show: The whole film is about the writing of Cyrano de Bergerac, plus the preparation and execution of its first performance.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The French trailer reveals a minor plot twist. How the main actress for Roxanne will fall into a trapdoor, making it obvious that Jeanne will replace her.
- White-and-Grey Morality: A few objectionable acts are only justified because artistic creation matters.
- The Wicked Stage: Several references to that idea. Notably, as the company need more actresses than expected, they hire girls from a brothel.