The Wife and I watched this movie two days before our 33rd anniversary. In my opinion there are few stories that can compete with this one for romantic impact on an anniversary date night. This new version of the story, set to music:
Is the first time that I ever took a real interest in the story. The reason I took an interest was because of this man:
I love Peter Dinklage. Every time I would see him on screen he was always fully invested in the character he was portraying. I don’t remember him for most of the things that others might first think of, not Game of Thrones or Death at a Funeral (both of them) or even the Station Agent. I remember him for a little known television show named Threshold.
This wasn’t the first time I had seen him in a show, but it was the first time that he owned the screen so convincingly and persistently. He commanded my attention and I fell in love with his onscreen presence. I loved the show even though they canceled it. This seems to happen a lot with things I love. Most people simply can’t wrap their heads around why the thing is worth paying attention to.
This appears to be true of the Cyrano musical as well. I suspect that this is because most people can’t take little people seriously in leading roles. The Wife is convinced that it is the poor pacing of the movie edit that causes the problem with viewers. I personally don’t think most people are deep enough to notice that the pacing drags in several sections. They see a little person in a leading role and they refuse to pay to see the movie because it simply isn’t believable.
This is to their own personal detriment. The film is beautiful. It is a marvelous example of a period piece set in a variety of real world locations. Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person that came from a particular place and time in history. However, that Cyrano seems to have had little problem with women. While he apparently did have a very large nose, it was apparently no more pronounced than several popular actors of recent years (yes, I am looking at you Adam Driver) He did seem to be touchy about it, though. In the musical they simply abandoned the fake nose that has come to be associated with productions of the classic play. Who needs a large nose when you’re leading man is so distinctly not normal looking right out of the box?
The play was written by Erica Schmidt, Dinklage’s wife. Even though the part seems almost written for him, he reportedly had to beg her to be allowed to play it. They first performed the play in New York city; off, off Broadway. The future director of the movie just happened to be in the audience one night and the rest is history.
As beautiful as the movie is, it is the soundtrack that makes it memorable. The passion in the performer’s voices is palpable. Dinklage’s vocals are raw and moving at all times. The lackluster reception for the movie does force me to wonder what the audience response would have been like if they had gotten someone more traditional to play the leading man’s role? If they had simply used movie magic and computer animation to make Peter Dinklage six foot tall? Would audiences have noticed how beautiful the film was then? Noticed the emotion? I don’t know. I’ll continue to love it anyway.