Yesterday, I finally had the good fortune to see Les Miserables the movie in theaters. Like many lovers of the musical, I could not possibly have had higher expectations.
You see, Les Mis played a key role in my childhood. I practically wore out the soundtrack (Broadway, not London cast) throughout elementary school. And then my oldest brother (now El Paso Brother) STOLE the soundtrack and took it to college with him. Over various school holidays, we began to steal the set from each other back and forth until Tokyo Brother gifted me my own copy freshman year of college. By that point, I’d seen the show on Broadway (thanks to a generous graduation present from Liz). Since that time, I’ve seen the show live three more times, listen to the soundtrack constantly, and get my fixes from the 25th Anniversary Concert (which has also single-handedly changed my perception of Nick Jonas).
I can hardly believe I waited six days from release to see the movie and offer up my humble opinions below.
- So many of the greatest dramatic moments aren’t able to be as big as they could be on stage: it’s the French Revolution after all! Watching Valjean climb through the gutters, following soldiers through the streets, watching prisoners pull in ships — the big screen brought much larger visual impact.
- Samantha Barks is a brilliant Eponine and brought me to tears during “A Little Fall of Rain.”
- Colm Wilkinson’s cameo as the Bishop.
- Anne Hathaway was as good as everyone said.
- I even loved Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers, but can understand those who thought they overplayed the roles (disagree as they were always meant to be the comedic relief).
- The big screen made a number of the smaller moments so much more powerful. I can’t remember ever being as grossed out by the “Lovely Ladies” or as moved by “A Heart Full of Love.”
- While it made the smaller moments more powerful, I felt like some of the big moments were lacking something. To hear “One Day More” and have the theater not erupt in applause after was heartbreaking.
- Similarly, Hugh Jackman acted Valjean beautifully but wasn’t quite strong enough when singing the part. Although as Rembert Browne of Grantland said: “I didn’t have any problems with his voice, Emily, but maybe that’s because I was just doing the natural thing of comparing him to Javert/Crowe, which, in turn, made Jackman sound like all Three Tenors combined.”
- Oh my, Russell Crowe. You might look like Javert and you might act like Javert, but you do not sing like Javert.
I think it’s a must-see. Although you may leave it wishing there was any single male vocal performance that approached this:
Clever words delivered rapidly by men who combine good looks and intelligence in proportions that never meet in real life mean I’m always on board. I’ve basically been counting down to “The Newsroom” on HBO since The West Wing got bad (read: Season 6) and Sean Parker took Zucks to Nobu in “The Social Network.”
Here’s the trailer so you too can salivate: