Starring Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn
New for the Houston area is the botched release of “Cyrano,” garnering one measly nomination in the costume category. While its wide release was delayed until now, “Cyrano” is the better of the musicals released in 2021.
Director Joe Wright’s reimagining of Cyrano de Bergerac’s story consists of his signature dazzling style, similar to “Pride & Prejudice” (2005) and “Atonement” (2007). Wright has an expert knack for whittling down period pieces, leaving in the most appealing bits for modern audiences. “Cyrano” premiered for critics back at Telluride in early September, with instant awards buzz for Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”), but the decision to release it at the 11th hour hasn’t done the film any favors.
“Cyrano” is an old-fashioned musical with carriages and flowing gowns combined with battle scenes and warfare. Aside from the singing, Dinklage’s signature Tyrion Lannister savvy is intact as the witty Cyrano, in love with Roxanne (Haley Bennett).
Bennett is the real show stopper, although more so with her vocal performance than acting.
Bennett (“Hillbilly Elegy”) is the real show stopper, although more so with her vocal performance than acting. In one of the film’s most magnetic and creative moments, Bennett belts out “I Need More” with written letters filling the air, a perfect example of Wright giving the audience both visual and audible wonderment.
The downsides of “Cyrano” include Dinklage’s voice, not quite on par with Bennett’s, and the film’s other standout Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“Waves”). Still, his charm and charisma make up for it.
If you ever wondered what “Moulin Rouge!” might be like without all the zany editing and popular music, Wright has answered that visual notion with this adaptation of mistaken and forbidden love. Ben Mendelsohn as De Guiche is a decaffeinated version of Richard Roxburgh’s The Duke from Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” “Cyrano” also might be the only musical from 2021 where the music bears repeating.
Cyrano stands apart from all musicals released in 2021.