Les Misérables Movie Review
I've seen the stage show 6 times, own almost every soundtrack available (at least in English) so I had low expectations that the movie would meet my high standards. My sister surprised me with passes to the preview before Christmas! It was a wonderful gift and we both agreed the movie was FABULOUS! Casual fans will love it more than die-hards like me but we both loved it. Francophiles will like that they added some history to it and literature majors will be happy that they added some bits from the book. (Now I don't have to explain everything to my dad even though he's seen it at least 4 times plus the 10th anniversary concert).
Hugh Jackman was incredible as Valjean. He was really intense and emotional and his singing was fabulous. I was concerned he couldn't hit those high notes "246 oh 11111111" "Bring him hoooommme" but he totally pulled it off in his own key. Anne Hathaway was very convincing as Fantine except for her nice Hollywood teeth. I'm not a huge fan of hers but I liked her a lot. Everyone was really good. The weak link was Russell Crowe as Javert. He was stiff and not really a singer. I also didn't like Sascha Barrett Cohen as Thenardier. He had some weird accent I didn't like. Lea Salonga fans will like Eponine. She looks just like a young Lea Salonga and sounds like her too.
I thought Amanda Seyfried was a sweet Cosette but my sister did not. Marius is cute. He looks so young like he belongs at Hogwarts. His voice is very good. Colm Wilkinson as the bishop has a great cameo. He sings in an old man voice which was a bit weird, being used to his normal voice.
They changed some things around, added some new scenes and a new song that I did not like because none of that flowed. Some of the music is cut and some of the songs are shortened in favor of the new material. A few lyrics were changed to speaking but not many. Enough that my pre-programmed brain picked up on it but not enough that my sister noticed. It's similar to Phantom of the Opera. I prefer the original singing. It's an operetta, sing! They also changed a lot of the lyrics and some of the words. It bugged me because it just didn't flow the way I'm used to.
It looks amazing in the real world except for some obvious CG scenery that is a stark contrast to the London Horse Guards set which looks authentic. I missed the live aspect though. That feeling of wanting to jump up and join the boys on the barricade and the reactions after the songs. My sister said she missed clapping too.
I went again with my parents who have seen it nearly as many times live as I have. It was better the second time around once I knew what to expect. I didn't feel like throwing my shoe at the screen except for when Russell Crowe murdered "Stars." My parents loved it. They're not as obsessed as I am but my dad is close.
Running time is 2:40 no intermission. It needs an intermission so everyone can rush off to the bathroom without missing anything.
Rating: 4 stars