Ever since its first stage presentation 1897, Cyrano de Bergerac crossed over as a romantic tale that appeals to both women and men—a trend that continues with the newest screen interpretation. Among guys, actors love the role—Jose Ferrer won an Oscar for it, Gerard Depardieu earned an Academy nod for his take; Steve Martin got a big hit in Roxanne, and now Peter Dinklage works magic with a musical twist called Cyrano.
Adapted from a musical stage version of the original play, this screen interpretation gives director Joe Wright a chance to play with yet another classic, a skill he demonstrated previously in Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina. Grand scale sets and costuming, splashy, emotion-laden scenes and the like suit Wright’s taste, and Cyrano fits right in the mold. Set in the seventeenth century with the Thirty Years War still underway, the project thrives when period costumes and buildings surround its characters. With people dressed in flowing clothes amidst stone buildings of Sicily, the look of Cyrano feels rich and lush.
But ultimately, the character Cyrano matters most, requiring physical dexterity (for swordplay), emotional range, and a voice that carries the poetic dialogue of a man who reveals his feelings through beautiful words spoken under cover. Cyrano hides because he feels physically unworthy, not desirable enough for the gorgeous Roxanne.
A large nose gets the blame for most versions, though this Cyrano uses Dinklage’s stature as the cause. As he repeatedly proved in his Game of Thrones reign, Dinklage brings charisma, confidence, flamboyance, intelligence, and individuality to his work, making him a clever and effective choice as Cyrano. His performance highlights the movie, adding a different spin to well-woven tale.