A musical that admires these two romantics and the girl they’re both in love with.

Director Joe Wright’s last movie was “The Woman in the Window,” which was an absolute mess and on my list of the worst films of 2021. His next movie released this year, “Cyrano,” is an absolute delight. It’s a musical that uses a diverse cast to bring out Edmond Rostand’s play “Cyrano de Bergerac” on the screen without relying on CGI effects or commercialized actors trying to appease to a new generation of movie-goers.

The original story had the main cadet in the French Army Cyrano be given a big nose. The screenplay for this movie was done by Erica Schmidt, who altered him as a short person in her 2018 play in the form of her husband Peter Dinklage. I never saw that play, but in Wright’s version, this actor is outstanding in this role in every way possible. Ways you need to see to believe.

The story involves Cyrano in love with the radiant Roxanne (Haley Bennett) than his own life, but can’t admit that to her, because she might reject him for his height. Of course, tall beautiful women have to reject short people for their heights and fail to see their big hearts within.

Then comes the new recruit Christian (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), who becomes the apple of Roxanne’s eyes, and she tells Cyrano to have this young man write love letters to her. However, the boy is speechless, and can’t speak from his heart, but Cyrano can. They agree to collaborate, but Cyrano’s words become too real for words.

There’s also the Count De Guiche (Ben Mendolsohn), who covets the girl’s hand in marriage, and threatens the romance for Cyrano and Christian. Before the two men meet, she had to marry him to solve her family’s financial problems, but I guess you could say “things change.”

The weakness of “Cyrano” is the third act when the two soldiers are sent to fight in the cold mountains, and they’re left with remorse and very little hope. It should have been handled in a more complex and emotional manner, but it eventually starts to pick up. I can’t say why for those of you who haven’t heard of the play or read about it, but it proves the movie’s sadness.

Wright is able to put life inside this film version with Dinklage, Harrison, Jr., and Bennett in exceptional roles, phenomenal roles to say the least, and he assembles the right choreography and lyrics for the musical numbers. The better musical out in theaters is Steven Spielberg’s take on “West Side Story,” but this one is almost as entertaining.

Dinklage gives his best performance in years in the ways he uses his voice and mannerisms to give us a different spin on the character. Harrison, Jr. is full of youth and spirit, and never succumbs to any cliches whatsoever. And Bennett shines in the right light when she loves the words from her admirer, and has yet to know who that is.

It’s nice to know that Joe Wright improved on his last entry by having this exuberant, melancholy, and inspirational movie brought to life. From start to finish, I was fascinated by how well the actors sing and talk, and how well the action and romance are kept on a balanced scale. There are times when you’ll be happy and times when you’ll be sad, and that’s easily understandable. Of course, there have been other film versions of the play, or ones inspired by it like the Steve Martin comedy classic “Roxanne,” but this one is still something to behold.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

In Theaters This Friday

Categories: Drama, Musical, Romance

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