starring Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Mendelsohn
screenplay by Erica Schmidt, based on the play by Edmond Rostand
directed by Joe Wright
by Walter Chaw There's a scene in Joe Wright's derided Pan where Nirvana's anthemic "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is stirringly transposed into an indentured/enslaved orphans' lament. I thought to myself that Wright had a musical in him if he wanted, and here it is, this umpteenth adaptation of Cyrano (de Bergerac), which I fought against for a little while and then went along with. I had a similar experience with Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, where an old idea presented in an earnest and earnestly gonzo way lives or dies by our investment in the chemistry of its central pair and the melancholy embedded in the thought that every love story is a tragedy eventually. It doesn't hurt, of course, that Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National wrote the songs and score for this musical reimagining of Rostand's fable. They are the band I have seen the most times in concert. They were my kids' first experience at Red Rocks--we planned it that way, planting the seed maybe for somewhere down the line when they will look back and understand why the band's stories of loss, regret, and the briefness of all things spoke to me so loudly.