Gerard Depardieu is Cyrano de Bergerac, there is no doubt in the matter. He was born to play the role, in one of those instances where no other actor could possibly be even imagined playing the role. Even the great Steve Martin gave it a stab in Roxanne, but he couldn’t quite match the heady heights (or should that be lengths?) achieved by Depardieu and a handful of putty on his proboscis.
Though wittier and more romantic than any man within smelling distance, the Cyrano de Bergerac has to his mind but one fault; his comically oversized snout. Though he loves his cousin Roxane, he feels he can never voice his feelings, for she would surely laugh away his advances, so when Roxane falls for the much more handsome yet far less eloquent Christian, Bergerac proposes to assist the pair by writing her letters on Christian’s behalf. Depardieu adds more than a sniff of life and colour to the picture, his red cape like a beacon amidst the otherwise muted palette as his noble showman takes on all comers at both word and swordplay, defeating a man whilst with both rapier wit and real life equivalent after being told his “nose is very big.” By beginning with arguably the greatest scene the film can only go downhill, but it doesn’t go far, maintaining a level of quality and tension throughout.
An unexpected turn occurs in the third act, and comedy is mined when Christian is forced to make wooing attempts without his wordsmith aide (“I love you”/”Yes, and then?”) and the attempt to resolve a love triangle amidst an epic battle is equal parts humorous, heartbreaking and dramatic.
Choose film 7/10