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Stars: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Ben Mendelsohn, Ruth Sheen, Monica Dolan, Mark Benton

Director: Joe Wright

I hadn't realised this latest re-telling of Rostand's famous tale of unrequited love in 17th century France was based on an off-Broadway musical. In this film version of that, the lovelorn Cyrano (Dinklage), master of swordfighting and poetry, but doomed in his love for bounteous Roxane, no longer has a big nose. He is, however, little more than four feet tall.

Dinklage is just sensational in this role: he fights with panache and has facial mobility that puts the rest of the cast to shame. He can't sing, but does, heartbreakingly, in a cross between Lee Marvin and Leonard Cohen.

The story, as Cyrano supplies the wooing words to Christian, the guard (Harrison Jr) whom Roxane loves at first sight, swings along in style until the final quarter where, not helped by impending tragedy, it gets rather dull.

Songs, apart from a moving ensemble number sung by soldiers sending farewell letters to loved ones before going on a suicide mission, are generally unmemorable. And it's only Dinklage, in fact, who ensures you'll need a tissue before the end. Shamefully overlooked by US Oscar voters, this is a master at the top of his craft.

David Quinlan

USA/UK/Canada/Italy 2021. UK Distributor: Universal (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). Colour (unspecified).
124 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 25 Feb 2022