Peter Dinklage’s wife, Erica Schmidt, adapted the 1897 French play Cyrano de Bergerac to a stage musical that ran off-Broadway with her husband in the starring role, his dwarfism substituting for Cyrano’s usual overly large nose.
Her screen adaptation of Cyrano, a new and fresh take on the classic, is directed by Joe Wright who calls it “a musical for people who don’t normally like musicals.”
The touching story of unrequited love stays fairly close to the original. Peter Dinklage is Cyrano, a wordsmith and soldier, renowned and feared for his superb swordsmanship and his scathing wit. He has loved the beautiful Roxanne since they were children, but is too afraid to tell her, certain his feelings wouldn’t be returned because of his diminutive stature.
Roxanne falls in love with Christian, a young recruit in Cyrano’s regiment. Christian is handsome and kind but hopelessly inarticulate when it comes to flowery prose and wooing, which is what Roxanne craves. Cyrano agrees to write letters to her on Christian’s behalf and she is swept away by Christian’s passionate and poetic eloquence. It is years later, as the story unfolds, that Roxanne realizes that Cyrano is actually the author of the love letters.
Peter Dinklage is a joy to watch as the lovesick soldier/poet and brings a profound sense of passion and rejection to Cyrano’s tortured soul. It is an extremely personal performance and he is at times truly heartbreaking. People are saying it might be the best performance of his career.
The movie is emotional but also humorous and entertaining, beautifully filmed and well-acted, and when they burst into song and dance, it feels organic and natural. Even if you’re not into musicals, give it a watch — Cyrano might pleasantly surprise you.
Cyrano runs for a week at the Salmar Classic, Friday, April 15 to Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. nightly.
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