Have you ever talked about a thing with someone, and while you’re describing it they go, “Oh yeah! That’s THIS THING!” And you’re like, “I’ll have to take your word for it, but sure”? It happened to me once when I was describing a mobile game and was told, “That’s just Candy Crush but with a Sailor Moon theme,” and it was the same with Cyrano de Bergerac. Yes, this is a super vague hint of what’s coming Wednesday, but first…
Our protagonist is the titular Cyrano de Bergerac. He’s just about the smartest and most charming man in 17th century France (you can tell because everyone wears cavalier/musketeer hats, even when attending a play), but feels insecure about his VERY large nose. He loves his (distant) cousin Roxanne, but she’s in love with Christian, an absolute himbo. Christian’s so dense he couldn’t describe a flower with any word other than “pretty” or “flowery,” so Cyrano decides to help out by writing all of Christian’s letters and ballads. Roxanne falls for and marries the supposedly poetic Christian, but before the couple can spend time together, he and Cyrano are sent to war against the Spanish. Roxanne follows them, and facing death Christian tells Cyrano to tell her the truth. Cyrano doesn’t and Christian dies thinking Roxanne loved him for who he really was. Many years later, Roxanne has become a nun and Cyrano is writing political satire, which makes him a target for an assassination attempt. He survives long enough to visit Roxanne one last time, where he asks to read Christian’s final letter. It’s then that Roxanne realizes that everything Christian said to her was actually from Cyrano, but our hero dies a delirious death regardless.
I think this is the first movie I’ve reviewed on this site that’s won an Academy Award? Actually I just looked it up, and it’s the first to win an award for something substantial (suck it, Batman ’89’s win for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration) and not posthumously (sorry, Heath Ledger). Really shows the kind of movies I gravitate towards… Anyway, this is definitely a good movie and José Ferrer deserved his Best Actor award. Any quibbles I have are from the source material. Like, we first meet Cyrano when he disrupts a play and chases off the lead actor. I was absolutely ready to hate this guy, but otherwise he’s a pretty decent person. But what are you make of a hero that’s the best at everything he does and is borderline insufferable about it? Oh, right, this was a French play. I’ll always remember that the French added Sir Lancelot to the Camelot mythology; you know, the best knight of them all who fucked the king’s wife? So yeah, sounds like a French hero.
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