Les Miserables review
In the last few months I have probably listened to the 25th anniversary edition of the London production of Les Miserables; staring Alfie Boe and Norm Lewis, about a dozen times. So when [shadow of darkness
] (thence known as SoD from now on) and I went to see the film tonight (1.15.13) I was one of those annoying people in the theater who could sing along throughout the course of the film. By the skin of my teeth I managed not to. I just want to illustrate that short of reading Victor Hugo's works, I ate, breathed and slept the 25th anv. edt. After watching the 25th on youtube I fell in love with the production and was far far too excited to see the film tonight.
In part my excitement was due to the fact that Hugh Jackman played the lead, Jean Valjean. I became a fan of his of course from X-Men and subsequent films, but I've also become a big fan of his musical work. I've not had the opportunity to see The Boy from Oz or his latest one man show, but his work as Curley in the 99' version of Oklahoma is more than outstanding. And of course he provided the voice of Memphis in Happy Feet and had partaken in several other musical works. More than his his smouldering good looks, I find the man a very capable actor with a tremendous musical quality singing voice. Which is different from singing for the sake of song. A musical actor sounds different than someone you're going to hear on the radio. A good example of the difference is the song Red and Black from the 25th. Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers plays Marius and up against his costars in this song you can very easily hear the difference between a musical actor and a musician like Jonas.
Any way, rambling off topic. Main thing, Hugh did fantastic as well as Russel Crowe. SoD however felt very differently. He went as far as to say Crowe's songs sucked. I couldn't disagree more. I had reservations a few weeks ago when I first heard his lines for the Prolog (the very first song of the film) and found his voice dry and tight. He, like Nick Jonas is a musician, not a musical actor, but as the film unfolded I found myself enjoying his songs very much. No his voice isn't exceptionally pretty but it shines particularly well during Stars. I thought he sounded very real, not exactly a musician trying to be a musical actor, but a man in his role as the ruthless Javert. Crowe was a fantastic choice for Javert, despite my trepidations in the beginning.
Anne Hathaway I had heard overacted quite a bit in the film. I didn't feel as if she did. She plays a woman who's fingers are slipping at the end of her rope. A woman who's hit full rock bottom. I don't believe she overacted one bit. She preformed her songs beautifully and it was to the Death of Fontine that I shed my first tears in the course of the film.
And yes, I cried quite a bit during the movie. I found myself very invested in the story having listened to the 25th so many times.
Amanda Sayfried (Adult Cosette) and Samantha Barks (Adult Eponine) both portrayed the same roles in the 25th. When I heard they were reprising their roles for this film, I was ecstatic. Personally I think Marius was a fool for not falling for Eponine but what can you do lol. She got friendzoned pretty hard core. Both ladies preformed their roles quite fantastically and I was exceptionally pleased in their performances.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bottom Carter as the Tenardiers of course did not disappoint. They did fantastic jobs, but I found myself missing Matt Lucas and Jenny Galloway from the 25th. I fell in love with their portrayals of the Tenardiers, but it's hard to be really disappointed when the surrounding cast is so fantastic. Cohen and Carter really put their stamp on their roles and I did enjoy them quite a bit.
The last I'll say about the cast is this, if you like little Easter eggs like I do, then perhaps this will interest you. The role of the Bishop is payed by Colm Wilkinson. Mr. Wilkinson played Valjean in the 1985 London production and his unique voice was fantastic for the Bishop.
Apart from the cast the film felt rather epic. I liked it, production design, costume, and especially makeup were executed with extreme attention to detail. The only thing I would have done was fewer in-song closeups, but that's just me. You might like watching Anne Hathaway's nose run while she sings I Dreamed a Dream lol.
Also, both she and Hugh Jackman lost a good deal of weight for their roles and it shows. I'd never seen both of them so... unattractive, but in a good way I guess. You're supposed to believe their people down on their luck/on the run so it's understandable and you have to applaud an actor's devotion to their role.
All in all, the film was fantastic. I loved it, laughed, cried, joked and cried some more. I'd go see it again if I could, but I promised Sod The Hobbit if we get a chance lol.
I will say this about the movie... go expecting to see 2 and a half hours of singing. There are very few speaking parts in the film. Unlike say... Sweeny Todd which had quite a few spoken lines, Les Mis is 98% song. If you take your boyfriend/husband, they're probably gonna wanna sneak out and catch Zero Dark 30 lol.
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