Rappeneau's movie-making demonstrates an unshowy confidence in itself and its subject that is wholly justifiable.
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This 138-minute film, comprising two thousand performers and a helluva lot of musketry, has several good scenes, including the well-known one in which Christian utters romantic praise to Roxanne from below her balcony, while de Bergerac feeds him lines. But it can't escape Rostand's structural shortcomings.
Well-nigh flawless, with scarcely a moment's lull. [18 Dec 1990, p.F1]
Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau makes the mistake of treating Cyrano de Bergerac as though it were some lost Shakespearean tragedy instead of the wonderfully gimmicky (and familiar) tearjerker it is.
The antique charms of the story can still seduce us when done well, and director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, who freely adapted the play with Jean-Claude Carrière, knows how to fashion a sumptuously beautiful, hugely entertaining spectacle that also stays alert to the cadences of the heart.
Cyrano de Bergerac is played full tilt, like Don Quixote against the windmills. An enthusiastic melodrama, it spills emotions like stars across the noble screen.
A splendid movie not just because it tells its romantic story, and makes it visually delightful, and centers it on Depardieu, but for a better reason: The movie acts as if it believes this story. Depardieu is not a satirist - not here, anyway. He plays Cyrano on the level, for keeps.
With its screenplay adapted from Rostand by Mr. Rappeneau and Jean-Claude Carriere, the movie is really memorable, though, only for the Depardieu performance, and for the chance it gives us to hear the original French verse.