The pyramid that is the social structure of the high school experience is a difficult one. Where one lands sometimes determine how they are treated by their peers.
The 2018 Netflix film, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is based on Cyrano de Bergerac. Sierra (Shannon Purser) is a band nerd who is looked down on by her classmates. Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is a popular girl who uses Sierra as verbal target practice. In order to avoid speaking to Jamey (Noah Centineo), a football player from another high school, Veronica gives him Sierra’s number.
But Jamey does not know that he is talking not talking to Veronica. Nor does he know that in return for tutoring Veronica, Sierra agrees to continue the conversation. As Jamey and Sierra begin to talk, they develop a connection.
Both girls know that the truth will have to come out eventually. The question is, when will it be brought to light and what will be the consequences?
Though the narrative is built on cliches, there is still room for the story to breathe. This tale has been seen before: the plus-sized protagonist who is smart and determined, but not seen for who they are; the conventionally attractive love interest, and the thin and bitchy antagonist who is basically a Regina George copycat.
It’s cute, funny, and skillfully blends the original text with the high school movie genre.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is available for streaming on Netflix.
Elvis: Austin Butler transforms himself into Elvis Presley, adding new layers to the music icon.
Call Jane: Elizabeth Banks plays a housewife whose pregnancy is not going well in the days before Roe v. Wade. Denied an abortion by the local hospital, she finds an underground group and soon joins them in their mission to help women.
Hocus Pocus 2: After 29 years, the Sanderson sisters are back. It has enough of its predecessor while holding its own in the best way possible.
Mr. Malcolm’s List: Based on the book of the same name by Suzanne Allain, Mr. Malcolm is the most coveted bachelor in this Jane Austen-inspired narrative. In order to fend off marriageable young ladies and their match-making mamas, he creates a list of qualities that his wife should have. Little does he know that it will soon be moot.
Downton Abbey: A New Era: This second film in the franchise opens the door to new stories while closing old ones in perfect fashion.
My main reason for wanting to see this show is McAvoy. He is one of those actors who cannot be pegged as a certain character type. That being said, this version is not for the purists. It’s a creative take on the story that we all know. Beyond the unorthodox re-telling is that McAvoy is not wearing a prosthetic nose. This makes sense because even the most conventionally attractive of people are likely to harbor insecurities of some sort.
My problem with the play is that the first half is just a little too long and despite the excellent performances, I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. There is something missing that I cannot put my finger on that would have made the show that much better
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Cyrano de Bergerac is playing at BAM until May 22, 2022. Check the website for tickets and showtimes.
Love has a way of making us feel insecure. The question is if we have the courage to tell the one we love how we feel?
The 1987 movie, Roxanne, is a rom-com adapation of Cyrano de Bergerac. C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) is the fire chief in a small town. Known for his extraordinarily large nose, he likes to crack jokes about it. Behind the smartass one-liners are insecurity and fear of rejection. When astronomy student Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) enters his life, D.C. falls hard and fast for her.
Afraid that she will mock him, he uses newbie firefighter and pretty boy Chris (Rick Rossovich) as a conduit to express his feelings. Roxanne believes that Chris and the man behind the letters she has been receiving are one and the same. C.D. knows that he will have to be real with Roxanne, but will she feel the same?
This film is classic Steve Martin. Behind the humor is heart and a deep well of emotion that makes this classic tale feel both timeless and forever modern.
My only issue is that Hannah’s character is sexualized early on in the movie. I understand that this narrative is over a century old. The norms in 1897 are not the norms of today. I appreciate that she was given some depth as a character. But I feel like the scene in which she is appearing to be naked pushes her backward towards a typical female character whose only task is to be the love interest without having agency or a narrative of her own.
I also have to realize that the film is over 30 years old. Though Hollywood has not completely shaken off the idea of limiting women both on and off-screen, the celluloid glass ceiling has been cracked considerably since then.
We all want to be loved for who we are. But that is not always easy when we believe that we are unworthy of the one(s) we love.
The new movie, Cyrano, is a musical adaptation of the Edmond Rostand play Cyrano de Bergerac. Peter Dinklage plays the title character. Cyrano is charming, a master swordsman/soldier and wordsmith, and in love with Roxanne (Haley Bennett). Without a penny to her name, Roxanne (like many women living in the pre-modern era), knows that she must marry. But she will only marry for love. That love comes in the form of Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.).
Unable to tell her how he feels due to his insecurities, Cyrano uses Christian for his conventionally handsome looks to express what he cannot say in person. Christian is equally tongue-tied, believing that his words are not enough to convey his own passion for her. They are joined by a third man, De Guiche (Ben Mendelsohn), a nobleman who covets Roxanne for her beauty.
As this love triangle becomes more complicated, it becomes obvious that both Cyrano and Christian will have to come clean. What is unknown is how Roxanne will react and how the ripple effect of the lie change the course of their lives?
With only one female lead character, it would be easy to box Roxanne into a corner. But she is so strong and so determined to make her own choices (as limited as they are), that it is easy to forget that her life is dictated by the men around her.
The heart of this narrative is the inability to love ourselves and be open to the people that are important to us. It’s why I believe we can all relate to Cyrano. Whether we are of short stature, have an unusually long nose, or another feature that we dislike, we all want to be loved for our authentic selves. It is just a matter of taking that leap and trusting that we will land on our feet.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely. If I may be so bold, I would say that Cyrano will be on quite a few “best of” lists come the end of the year.
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