Cyrano de Bergerac (review)

It’s mired in the dirt and the grime of 17th-century France, but there’s a kind of soaring beauty to this expansively passionate film, 1990’s Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Film, perhaps the grandest adaptation yet of Edmond Rostand’s verse about the swordsman, adventurer, poet, and would-be lover whose heart is held in check by his stupendously large nose. Gérald Depardieu, in the title role, was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor for this flamboyantly abundant performance, overflowing with wit and romance, and he perfectly balances outlandish bravado and closely held disappointment — he’s rarely been better onscreen. But he’s evenly matched by everyone around him, including the luminous Anne Brochet as Roxane, whom Cyrano secretly loves, and Vincent Perez as Christian, the tongue-tied soldier whom Cyrano helps woo Roxane. Lovely and bittersweet and heartbreaking, this is an unforgettable film.

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