Friday, January 11, 2013

Movie Review: Les Miserables

Movie: Les Miserables
Genre: Musical
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe
Rated: PG13

My Rating: Two thumbs up

When I first heard that this, my most favorite beloved musical, was going to be made into a movie, I was a little nervous. Okay, a lot nervous. I had pretty much zero faith that these big name stars could pull it off. Could they REALLY sing? Or would they just lip sync stuff? That would be so awful!

Then I saw the trailers and the behind the scenes videos and I became more and more impressed. I decided this was going to be a cool thing after all. I totally looked forward to seeing it... which took me a week or so because of crazy holiday stuff!
Cosette and Marius

But finally, see it I did and I loved it of course! They did an awesome job. It was so cool to see some of the scenes that are hard to do on stage, done in a movie setting. The opening number... wow! And the sewer scene (though it was a bit too short) and the downfall of Fontaine... and the barricade conflict. All amazing as a movie.

That being said, I still think that the play is more powerful... more emotionally powerful. Which is crazy I know, because the movie WAS emotionally powerful. But the play, much like we book lovers always say with books... is still better.

Jean Valjean and young Cosette

As far as how I thought these big name actors did. Hugh Jackman as fantastic. Anne Hathaway lived up to all the hype I'd seen about her I Dreamed a Dream performance. She blew it out of the water! But Russel Crowe was not my favorite Javert by any means. Something was sorely lacking. I loved the Marius dude, someone I haven't heard of before (Eddie Redmayne) and Amanda Seyfried was a pretty good Cosette also. Oh, the girl playing Eponine (Samantha Barks) .... perfect! Spot on! I thought Enjolras (Aaron Tviet) was great too, but his part is so much more powerful in person. It's so hard to explain unless you've see it live!
Jean Valjean and Fontaine
Which makes me wonder how many people are having their first experience with Les Miserables now, with this movie, and have nothing else to base it on. And how many are actually comparing it to their play experience. I've been lucky enough to see this live more times than I can count (I would guess about ten) and I have this thing memorized! So I would say I am a pretty tough critic.

Enjolras

And thus, in pondering the whole thing, I feel mixed. On one hand, I loved it, they did a great job. It's amazing, it's moving, its message is uplifting and powerful. On the other hand, the live singing tends to give me constant chills and brings tears to my eyes even more so than the movie.

Bottom line: I loved it. I love the play more!

Eponine
Now I want to know where you fall in this! Have you seen it yet? Have you seen the play? How do the two, movie and play, compare for you? Or is this your first exposure to the musical in any form? Did it blow you away with the emotion? Or have you seen neither and have no desire to do so?

Oh, and P.S.... It was MOST awesome to see Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean,  playing the bishop! Who ever had THAT idea was genius! See what they all have to say about that here:


19 comments:

  1. I haven't seen it yet, but I think it's like watching a movie having read the book, you have to look at them as two totally separate things. There's something about being in the audience and seeing actors live, it's so much more personal than on the screen.
    Ann

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  2. I have seen the musical and love the songs. I need to see the movie. The songs are always so amazing.

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    1. Julie: They are amazing... so so amazing.

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  3. I haven't seen the play, but I loved, loved, loved the movie. It was just so powerful -- from the story to the music to the acting to just everything! I even liked Russell Crowe, although I agree he's not the best singer in the world. Still, I thought the whole thing was just powerful and amazing. Now, I really, really need to see it on stage!

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    1. Susan: Yes, you really need to! ASAP.

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  4. I'm really excited to see this, especially because I don't actually know anything about the story. I was sad when I saw some spoilers on twitter. (but, of course no one marks it as a spoiler because everyone else knows the plot) :)

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    1. Kathy: You know, after I posted this, I realized I said absolutely nothing about the plot, just figuring everyone would know it! Yes, and I wouldn't even think of spoilers because... everyone knows it! Ha, but I guess not, eh? But... just know, it's a most awesome story.

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  5. They actually cast Eponine from the Broadway Les Mis. She played Eponine there, so of course she will be perfect. I am scared to see this. I love the play. I've played the music for the play. I just didn't think they could pull it off, especially after Phantom. Can Russell Crowe sing?

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    1. Kami: Yes, I'd heard that about Eponine and it was very apparent. Amazing. But yes, I would say they pulled it off. Go see it and let me know what you think! Russell Crowe can sing, but not very well, which is sad when Javert is your favorite character! (Nearly)

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  6. I was in the play twice during my high school years and the book is my all-time favorite. I am absolutely dying to see the movie, but as a very cheap person I always cringe paying 10 bucks to see a movie when I could wait for it to come out in the dollar theater... I'm glad to see your glowing review; I have yet to hear anything very bad about the movie. But like you, I'll still probably like the play better.

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    1. Emily: I can't do the dollar theaters anymore... the sound makes me crazy there, I need, like, the amazing digital loud sound. Especially for this movie! But yeah, if you are very familiar with the play, I predict you'll still like it better. Let me know when you do see the movie though!

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  7. I still need to go see this. I haven't yet. Corey's not too interested in seeing it. I probably won't see it until it comes out to Red Box. Sigh.

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  8. I have not seen the play but I know the music by heart and I find just listening to it is more powerful than the movie was. :-( I liked the movie OK but it just didn't have that powerful punch. Plus I didn't like one, not one, singing voice in turf movie. :-( I need to see the play!

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  9. We thought this was great , too. But nothing beats live performances for power and intimacy.

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  10. I saw it and thought it was very well done. I do think that Russell Crowe was out of his league … he didn't have the voice for it like the others.

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  11. I just saw this this weekend, and I really liked it. I've seen the play several times, and I think they both have their place. I thought the actors and singing were all really good, but I thought the pacing was off. And I can't believe you thought the sewer scene was too short! I wanted it to end. :)

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  12. I thought it was incredible! I do like it better live, but everybody did an amazing job except... Russell Crowe. I've seen Marius is something else (Pillars of Earth miniseries) and he was great, so I thought he was a wonderful choice.

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