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French Film Review: Cyrano De Bergerac

French Film Review: Cyrano De Bergerac

I picked Cyrano de Bergerac up at the school library because I recognised the title as a famous French play and the main actor, Gerard Depardieu. On the back of the DVD cover there are several extremely flattering quotes such as: “one of the most successful French films ever made”  and “a cinematic triumph” but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Here’s why: 

Cyrano de Bergerac revolves around the main character, unsurpisingly, Cyrano, and his love for his cousin (it wasn’t creepy in those days), Roxane. The problem is, Roxane is really beautiful and Cyrano has an unnaturally large nose which he is very ashamed of. He is afraid to confess his feelings to Roxane because of his nose and so he remains silent. Then, a handsome young man, Christian, arrives on the scene and Roxane falls for him. Christian wishes to woo Roxane and although he’s got the good looks, he does not have the poetic flair needed to write the love letters Roxane so desires and so Cyrano offers to write them for him.

The acting in Cyrano de Bergerac is brilliant. The main characters are played by Gerard Depardieu, Anne Brochet and Vincent Perez, all of whom are very talented. The acting is real and didn’t waver for even a moment. The story is heartbreaking and Gerard Depardieu does a marvellous job of transitioning between grouchy soldier to love poet. This is a really great love story which is quite easy to get wrong but these guys do it perfectly. The plot itself is also really good and though I can’t say whether or not it is true to the play, the script is really well written. The costumes and general atmosphere of the film seem to fit in nicely with the setting of the seventeenth century and nothing looked fake which I’m quite surprised at. Even Cyrano’s nose is perfectly fitted as had I not known better, I would’ve thought that it was Depardieu’s real nose!

Word of warning: this film is incredibly long. Cyrano de Bergerac is an adaption of a play by the same name and is approximately two hours and twenty minutes. I’m torn as to whether I think they should’ve adapted this for film by cutting some scenes or whether sticking to the entire original script, as they have done, was best. It’s a little difficult to stay engaged for the full film as not a lot actually happened and it was fairly predictable. There are several pieces of the film that could’ve been cut or shortened for a more modern audience. This was written in 1897 after all!

All in all Cyrano de Bergerac is a good film, but not a great one, and the running time is partly to blame. It ticks all the other boxes though: good acting, check; good plot, check; swashbuckling action, check. I would recommend this to fans of the three musketeers and those sort of dramas and even good old romantic people because this is a beautiful story. If you’ve already a fan of the theatre play then this is a pretty good film adaptation so well worth a watch!

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