Cyrano, My Love Movie Review (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

For his French comedy Cyrano, My Love (Edmond) Alexis Michalik takes a look behind the scenes of the premiere of “Cyrano de Bergerac” and cleverly weaves in the original story of the material. The result puts you in a good mood! We reveal more about this in our review.

The Plot Summary

1897, Paris: The young Edmond Rostand (Thomas Solivérès) is a potential genius as a playwright. Unfortunately, however, every piece he has done so far has been a flop. Not only his inspiration is suffering as a result, but also the family finances. But then the tide turns in Edmond’s favor – a famous friend introduces him to the greatest comedian of his time: Constant Coquelin (Olivier Gourmet). Much to Edmond’s surprise, he insists on playing a role in his new play. The only problem: The premiere is supposed to be in three weeks and Edmond hasn’t written a word yet. So far he only knows the title: “Cyrano de Bergerac”…

Movie explanation of the ending

The French play “Cyrano de Bergerac” is currently experiencing something of a cinematic renaissance. Within a year, both a USA adaptation, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” and “Sierra Burgess is a Loser,” an American adaptation of the material about the poet with the big nose, whose story became the most successful stage play of all in France, appeared times developed. Now it would actually be the French themselves’s turn again to bring their title hero from the boards to the screen, but far from it. “Curtain Raise for Cyrano” is not a mere reinterpretation, but above all a partially fictionalized origin story – a fundamentally refreshing approach, comparable to that of John Madden’s “Shakespeare in Love”, which the director and author Alexis Michalik (was previously primarily as an actor and will soon be seen in “Van Gogh – On the Threshold of Eternity”), which also served as a model. For him, “Curtain Raise for Cyrano” is something like the French answer to this – no other work has a similar status in his home country of France as “Romeo and Juliet” in Great Britain, which “Shakespeare in Love” deals with. And just like his colleague Madden, Michalik also repeatedly sprinkles in elements from the story itself. When the credits roll, the viewer, who was completely clueless before the film, not only knows what “Cyrano de Bergerac” itself is about, but also how this global success came about.

A man with a vision (Thomas Solivérès) and the skeptical financiers (Simone Abkarian and Marc Andreoni).

“Curtain Raise for Cyrano” is something like a “behind the scenes” of the premiere of “Cyrano de Bergerac” – with the standing ovation on December 28, 1897 at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint in Paris as the ultimate happy ending. Alexis Mechalik describes the way there in the best comedy style, without ever drifting into exaggerated slapstick or stupid nonsense – an incident with a trap door, except on the day of the premiere. Instead, Mechalik primarily uses the lively dynamic within the cast to describe the rehearsals and preparations for the historic evening in the best “Murphy’s Law” style. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong – it starts with bad decisions in the casting, progresses to arguments among the team members and a short-term ban on performances and finally ends with the trap door into which one of the leading actresses says goodbye during the premiere. In a narratively coherent way, it also covers the tragic aspects of the story – for example, those moments in which Edmond Rostand’s wife has legitimate concerns about the well-being and loyalty of her husband, who spends more and more time at the theater and less and less Spends time at home with the family (and also visibly bears traces of it), the film deals with it in a rushed manner and even completely drops the critical nuances in favor of an all-encompassing happy ending. “Curtain Raise for Cyrano” is therefore not a biopic that covers all the ups and downs.

But Alexis Michalik does well with this concentration on the humorous aspects of the creation of “Cyrano de Bergerac” – especially since in the finale he does not forego executing the final act of the piece itself in full length (i.e. in full tragedy). Of course, in the context of a theater performance, this hardly develops any emotional punch. After all, all you see here is how actors fake great drama; the characters themselves, with whom we have just spent an hour and a half in the cinema, are unaffected by the tragic circumstances on stage. This makes everything that happens beforehand all the more thrilling. Lead actor Thomas Solivérès (“Pretty much best friends”) As Edmond Rostand, he acts passionately between hints of uncertainty (at the beginning of the film he is far from a new novel success) and gradually increasing euphoria, which gradually allows himself to be infected by the hustle and bustle behind the stage. The Paris native is undoubtedly the ideal choice for “Curtain Raise for Cyrano”. This also applies to the rest of the cast, who are no less self-sacrificing in their roles. Especially when the real actors have to impersonate actors in the film, the line between believable and affected is very thin. But it is precisely this feat that each of them succeeds in – “Curtain Raise for Cyrano” is an actors’ film in two senses.

The moment of truth: Edmond (Thomas Solivérès) and Léo (Tom Leeb) eagerly await the first act.

This positive impression is supported not least by a formidable production. With great attention to detail, he brings late 19th century Paris to life, especially the dazzling entertainment district of Montmartre. It forms the optimal backdrop for a declaration of love for the theater itself and highlights not only the art itself, but also everything that has to do with it – from the people to the architecture – as particularly vivid and impressive. The writers who make small guest appearances here, such as Feydeau, Courteline, Sarah Bernhardt and Coquelin, present themselves as fascinating poets. Sentences are repeatedly made about how silent films are replacing the theater and that an audience magnet is urgently needed in order to make the theater attractive as a venue again. As “Cyrano’s Curtain Up” continues, Alexis Michalik and his team manage to make the enthusiasm for this tangible and illustrate the fascination with which “Cyrano from Bergerac” had the audience wrapped around their fingers at the time. And along the way, he also weaves in isolated scenes from the play itself, creating a wonderful hybrid of retelling and reinterpretation.

Conclusion: “Cyrano, My Love” is a lively, likeable comedy about the emergence of “Cyrano de Bergerac” as a global success, which brings you closer to both the story itself and its creators in an amusing and heartfelt way.

“Cyrano, My Love” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from March 21st.

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