Jean-Paul Rappeneau's theatrically luxuriant screen adaptation of Edmond Rostand's classic Cyrano de Bergerac is propelled by a flamboyant performance by Gerard Depardieu in the lead role. He inhabits every inch of this inimitable character, from his gigantic nose to his romantic psyche. Winner of the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, Depardieu triumphantly reveals the many sides of Cyrano soldier, leader, swordsman, poet, and friend.
This French film registers on the senses in vivid ways. In the dramatic opening scene, Cyrano carries on a verse duel with a man who insulted him, delighting the ears with his choice of words. The 17th century battle sequences are a riot of movement for the eyes. The many romantic encounters and the closing scenes where the dying warrior visits the love of his life are deeply touching. Anthony Burgess' translation of Rostand's verse for the English subtitles is a total delight.
Anne Brochet is an appealing Roxane, a woman enchanted by appearances and capable of swooning over Cyrano's letters. Vincent Perez makes Christian, the apple of Roxane's eye, into something more than a cipher.
Ethel Spector Person, author of Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion, has written: "Love is an act of imagination. For some of us, it will be the greatest creative triumph of our lives." Go see Cyrano de Bergerac for its grant romantic imagination.