CYRANO MY LOVE is an ebullient comedy of errors that recounts the fraught confluence of art, commerce, and egos that gave birth to Cyrano de Bergerac, the most successful play in French theater history. As witty and wise as that character himself, it is a love letter to the creative process that spares none of the inherent absurdity of artists and their outlets. Nor the proposition that, like raising a child, it takes a village to succeed.
We meet the scholarly, timid Edmond Rostand (Thomas Solivérès) at the nadir of his career. His new verse play has just flopped, big time, despite having superstar Sarah Bernhardt (Clémentine Célarié) in the lead. No matter, says Edmond’s loyal wife, Rosemonde (Alice de Lencquesaing), you’ll write another and everything will be alright. Two years later, her words have proven less than prophetic. Broke and dispirited, they experience the whirlwind that was Bernhardt when she descends up on them in her inimitably obliviousness and announces that she has arranged for him to write a play for veteran actor Jean Coquelin (Igor Gotesman) before sweeping out leaving husband and wife to stare at one another in astonishment.
Of course it’s more complicated than that. Coquelin has his own problems with money and the all-powerful Comédie-Française. Plus, through a series of increasingly farcical coincidences and misunderstandings, the play starts rehearsals before it is written. Fortunately, further coincidences allow the increasingly anxious playwright to find unexpected inspiration from an African-French café owner (Jean-Michel Martial) and the romantic follies of beautiful but dull-witted best friend Léonidas Léo Volny (Tom Leeb), whose ardor for a romantic wardrobe assistant (Lucie Boujenah) provides the inspiration for the story that will become iconic.
The best thing about it is that none of it feels contrived or forced. The dialogue sparkles like fireworks in a film that is arch, but never cynical. Instead there is a warmth to the proceedings, and by the end, slyly observes that the very artifice of theater can give rise to a reality that is more vivid that the real thing.