Cyrano Parent Guide
This adaptation of a classic French play brilliantly marries the soul of the tale with modern storytelling expectations. Throw in top notch acting, and this is well worth watching.
Parent Movie Review
Cyrano de Bergerac (Peter Dinklage) is a proud serviceman in the French Army and one of the best swordsmen in the country. He’s also one of the most loquacious speakers and a man of seemingly unbridled confidence and ability – except in matters of the heart. Cyrano has a form of dwarfism, and his insecurity about that condition has prevented him from ever sharing his feelings with Roxanne (Haley Bennett), the woman he has loved since childhood. Just when he works up the courage to tell her, she makes a confession of her own. A young man in Cyrano’s unit, Christian de Neuvilette (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) locked eyes with her at a play the night previous, and Roxanne has fallen madly in love with him. At Roxanne’s insistence, Cyrano promises to protect and support Christian. Getting to know the young man, Cyrano learns that Christian is equally smitten, but is burdened by his own insecurities: Roxanne’s interests lie in poetry and witty banter, skills in which Christian is sadly lacking. Convinced it is his only chance to express himself to the woman he loves, Cyrano offers to write love letters to Roxanne on Christian’s behalf. Between Christian’s good looks and Cyrano’s great mind, Roxanne is sure to swoon…but how long can Cyrano and Christian live with the lies?
This film has made a few departures from the original 19th century play by Edmond Rostand (which I’ve read several times, and highly recommend). The most notable is giving Cyrano dwarfism instead of the large nose that distinguished him in the play. Since this enables the casting of Peter Dinklage in the lead role, I have to say that this is a great decision. Dinklage is easily the best part of the film, seamlessly marrying Cyrano’s tragic longing and his brilliant confidence. Maybe I’m just a sucker for his deep-set puppy dog eyes, but he’s more than just a pretty face. He’s also a skilled vocalist – which brings me to the other major change.
The play from which this film is adapted is comprised entirely of rhyming couplets, a feature which adds some unique charm and rhythm to the story but can be irritating and distracting. To keep some of that lyrical quality without forcing the actors to spend two hours declaiming in verse, this adaptation is a musical. I think that’s a smart way to balance the textual origins of the story with the expectations of a modern audience, but the music in question is really not to my taste. I found the songs overly similar and frankly a little bland, although I’m willing to concede that may be down to my taste in musicals, which begins and ends with Fiddler on the Roof.
From a parent’s perspective, there’s very little wrong with this movie. There’s some briefly suggestive choreography, which sees Roxanne positively writhing on her bed while reading a letter, and a few scenes of war violence and swordplay; otherwise, the film is remarkably clean. Even the play featured more drinking, violence, and double entendre. Perhaps the least suitable scene sees the Duke De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn), a spurned suitor obsessed with Roxanne, singing rather aggressively about how he intends to “take” what she won’t “give” him. But apart from this Judge Frollo-esque moment, the biggest issue younger audiences are going to have are with the film’s long runtime and inconsistent pacing. Teens and older audiences are sure to appreciate the production’s period costumes and sets – and, of course, Dinklage’s own unique take on the essential panache of the outrageous Frenchman.Directed by Joe Wright. Starring Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr.. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release February 25, 2022. Updated May 31, 2022
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Cyrano rated PG-13? Cyrano is rated PG-13 by the MPAA Rated PG-13 for some strong violence, thematic and suggestive material, and brief language.
Violence: Some people are killed in swordfights and duels. Characters are shot in war. A man is set on fire. There is reference to forcing a woman into marriage.
Sexual Content: There are some scenes of suggestive choreography during musical numbers. There are references to sexual assault and some scenes of aggressive behaviour.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are infrequently seen drinking socially.
Page last updated May 31, 2022
Cyrano Parents' Guide
Do you think others see Cyrano as he sees himself? How do you think things would have gone if he had confessed his feelings for Roxanne? How do Cyrano and Christian see Roxanne? Are any of their perceptions accurate? How do these characters compare to their counterparts in the original play?
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Other adaptations of this story include Roxanne and The Half of It.