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SUBJECTS — Drama; ELA: irony; characterization;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Romantic Relationships; Self-esteem;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect. .
Age: 12+; MPAA Rating PG; Comedy; 1987, 107 minutes; Color;
Steve Martin's Roxanne is a delightful comedic reworking of Cyrano de Bergerac, the 1897 classic play. In both incarnations the story's value lies in its presentation of the conflict between style and substance: the fact that the outward appearance of an individual often masks what lies inside. Roxanne gives young people a lighthearted opportunity to work through important issues they face in a culture which places undue emphasis on outward appearance. Using Martin's unique comedic style, the film provokes thought about the pain felt by those who do not measure up to society's conception of beauty and about how they may seek to compensate for their perceived ugliness or disfigurement.
As a teaching device the film alone will drive assignments that exercise several of the skills important in English Language Arts. Moreover, by showing Roxanne in conjunction with reading the play Cyrano de Bergerac or viewing one of its translations to film, teachers can enrich the study of the classic drama and provide an example of the art of adaptation.
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Roxanne is an excellent "foil" for Cyrano de Bergerac.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers supplement lesson plans or by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to Roxanne.
An interesting aspect of "Roxanne," which varies considerably from Cyrano de Bergerac, is the development of the female lead. The original Roxanne is beautiful, but lacks depth; she is an object rather than a subject. In Martins remake, Roxanne is an intelligent woman, working on her doctorate in astronomy. She is independent and self directed, rivalling her counterpart in wit and facility with language. Charlie appreciates and acknowledges her substance and character.
The Learning Guide to the film Roxanne contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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