Edmond Rostand's classic drama of inner and outer beauty is given a lavish treatment in this acclaimed French production. Gérard Depardieu portrays the title character, a brilliant, charismatic swordsman with a generous spirit and a genius for poetry. It would seem that such a man would have no trouble attracting women, but Cyrano considers himself doomed to loneliness by an unattractive face featuring an oversized nose. His feelings of inadequacy are emphasized when Roxane, the beautiful woman he adores, attracts the attention of Christian, a young cadet in Cyrano's service. Christian lacks the poetic gift, however, and he ironically turns to Cyrano for help in winning Roxane's love. What follows is a tale of deception, with Roxane falling in love with the ineloquent Christian thanks to Cyrano's words of love. The underlying narrative has become quite familiar to modern audiences through retellings and variations from the 1950 adaptation starring José Ferrer to Steve Martin's Roxanne. Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau's interpretation stresses the tragic majesty of the original, setting a vigorous performance by Depardieu against a beautifully designed reproduction of the period and an emphasis on the sound and poetry of Rostand's original language; the subtitles for the film's English release were penned by renowned British author Anthony Burgess. This attention to detail creates a particularly faithful cinematic rendering of the original work that met with positive critical responses.
by Judd Blaise synopsis