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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Roxanne is Steve Martin's update of the classic play Cyrano de Bergerac. It's sweet and charming and ultimately has a worthy message about having to believe in yourself to find true love. This 1987 romantic comedy also is edgier than its PG rating might suggest. There's frequent innuendo (some related to the size of Martin's character's nose) and talk of sex (including fleeting oral-sex references), as well as a scene in which costar Daryl Hannah runs around naked after being locked out of her house (no sensitive body parts are shown, but she's clearly nude). Characters also swear ("s--t," "a--hole") and drink socially. Martin's character is sensitive about his unusual facial feature, and he kicks, punches, and otherwise manhandles some of those who insult him. Two of the main characters collaborate on a deception that hurtfully misleads another, but truth and honesty eventually rule the day.
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What's the story?
As the intellectual, frequently exasperated fire chief of a quaint small town in Colorado, C.D. Bales (Steve Martin) has found a comfortable niche for himself -- and, overall, acceptance for his unusual facial feature: an extremely long, large nose. Although newcomers occasionally need reminding (sometimes forcefully) that nasal insults won't be tolerated, for the most part C.D. is satisfied with his life. Then smart, beautiful astronomer ROXANNE (Daryl Hannah) comes to town for the summer, throwing C.D. for a loop and leaving him instantly smitten. But his hopes fade in the face of Roxanne's attraction to fellow town newbie Chris (Rick Rossovich), a traditionally handsome firefighter who has his own issues (talking to women makes him so nervous that he runs away). C.D. soon finds himself helping Chris woo Roxanne by proxy, supplying the eloquent words that win her heart -- if not the body that warms her bed. But what happens if the deception is discovered?
Is it any good?
Martin both stars in and wrote the screenplay for this updated take on Edmond Rostand's classic play Cyrano de Bergerac, and it's brimming with his brand of witty, whimsical humor. Stand-out comic scenes include C.D.'s epic response to a restaurant patron who dares to call him "big nose" -- C.D. proceeds to come up with 20 better insults, leaving his fellow diners (and audiences) in stitches -- and a sequence in which C.D. and Chris use the fire/police radio to communicate during Chris' date with Roxanne, only to have things go off the rails when an emergency broadcast cuts in.
Roxanne also is sweetly, genuinely romantic. C.D.'s expressions of love are so eloquent and heartfelt that you fall for him right alongside Roxanne. If it's somewhat hard to believe that she'd fall for his and Chris' scheme even for a little while, just chalk it up to the mood of magical realism that permeates the whole movie. In C.D. and Roxanne's world, you just might discover true love and a new comet on the same night.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Roxanne's messages. What do Chris and C.D. learn about telling the truth and being themselves? Why is it problematic to start a relationship under false pretenses?
What role does sex play in the movie? Do characters treat it seriously, casually, or both? Parents, talk to your kids about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
How does this version compare to the original Cyrano tale?
- In theaters: June 19, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: December 22, 1998
- Cast: Daryl Hannah, Rick Rossovich, Steve Martin
- Director: Fred Schepisi
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Humility, Integrity
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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