Monday, January 21, 2013

Movie Monday: Les Miserables

You guys knew this was coming eventually, didn't you? Now that it's been out in the UK for ten days or so, and it's coming up on Oscars season, LET'S TALK ABOUT LES MISERABLES.

And no, I will not be using a jump cut, because there are no such thing as spoilers for a story that was published 150 years ago and turned into a musical almost 30 years ago. Also, this is going to be a bit different to the usual Movie Monday posts, because of reasons.

ANYWAY. Allons-y!

- Anne Hathaway. ZOMG, amazing.
- "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". Cue all the ugly crying. Well, all the trying-to-contain the ugly crying, because my family don't cry at movies and I do.
- The kid who played Gavroche.
- Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. PHENOMENAL.
- Samantha Barks. Perfection. Also, can we all just stop and take a moment to be grateful that we didn't have to sit through Taylor Swift playing Eponine??
- That they included a snippet of "Little People", even though they didn't have time for the entire song.
- Aaron Tveit as Enjolras. Not only was he perfect for the role, he gets a millionty bonus points for being American and not singing in an American accent. We all know how I feel about that.
- "The Confrontation". This was one of the times when I thought Russell Crowe was actually really really good.
- That tiny moment when Javert removed his medal and pinned it to Gavroche's body. OMG, UGLY CRYING.
- The opening with the ship. I'm a sucker for a convict story (I think it's kind of obligatory after two years of getting paid to research convict history), so I loved that they showed how harsh it actually was. Also, bonus points to Hugh Jackman - I read somewhere that he went without water for 36 hours to appear that gaunt.
- That they didn't sanitise it. As an avid historian, it annoys me to no end when everything is clean and pretty and everyone has sparkly Hollywood teeth.

Wasn't so keen on:
- "Bring Him Home". Too much vibrato, Hugh. To be fair, it's not entirely his fault. It's the nature of the song which, for some bizarre reason, is about an octave (people with more musical experience than me, I made that up. It may only be three tones. I don't know and can't be bothered working it out.) higher than the rest of Valjean's part. So it's always a stretch, no matter who's in the role.
- The song they added in. Way too fluffy and light for the rest of the story. I agree that it did kind of need something added in there, and I like that they went back to the emotions Valjean expresses at that point in the book
- That when Eddie Redmayne sings vibrato, his entire body shakes. It worked perfectly in "Empty Chairs", but was kind of distracting at other times.
- "Drink With Me" being shortened. Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy???
- The fact I STILL have "Little People" stuck very firmly in my head, even though there were only about two lines of it in the whole movie.
- Amanda Seyfried. I mean, no one really likes Cosette. She's a bit of a wet blanket. But Seyfried's voice is really reedy, and I found it kind of distracting. 

Things that grew on me:
- "Stars". When I saw the movie, all I could think was that Russell Crowe didn't necessarily have the strength in his voice to back up a song like that. But then I downloaded the soundtrack. And the more I listen to it (AND "Javert's Soliloquy", for that matter), the more I like it. 

Things that made me laugh far more than was warranted:
So, what did you guys think??? K xx


  1. I completely agree about Eddie Redmayne's singing. SO DISTRACTING. But "Empty Chairs" WAS SO AMAZING. SO MANY ugly tears.

    I love Hugh Jackman as much as anyone. And he was fantastic. But it is my semi-professional opinion that the part of Valjean was just a bit too high for him. He sounded like he was struggling the whole time.

    Also, I agree about Amanda Seyfried. However, seeing as Cosette is a wet blanket, the reediness of her voice lent well to the character.

    The thing that bothered me a whole lot is the instant, love at first sight thing between Cosette and Marius. But then, I never really find that sort of thing believable, despite the fact that I understand its purpose in movies and musicals. You simply don't have the time to build a realistic relationship between the two characters.

  2. You know all my thoughts on Les Mis. I agree with a lot of what you wrote here. "Stars" has kind of grown on me, too, although I'm still not a huge fan of how he sang "Javert's Suicide."

    There's a featurette they did about Colm Wilkinson, and Hugh Jackman said he's one of the reasons "Bring Him Home" is written so high. He says there's a parody of "Bring Him Home" that goes, "God, it's high, bring it down!"

    I did think Hugh Jackman was great for the most part, but most of the stage Valjeans have sung the part better than he did.

  3. Haha, I loved the movie. It is so great. I didn't like Javert's voice at first, but it has really grown on me the more I've listened to the soundtrack. I also want to point out that Anne Hathaway is American and sang in her accented voice too!! She was amazing! Can you say Oscar winner?! Haha. I am so glad they didn't have a dub over for the voices. They filmed it live and all the singing had real emotion in it. It didn't matter if their voices cracked. It was the real deal :D

  4. Russell Crowe's main downfall was that he never portrayed the necessary emotions to validate his suicide. So that part of the movie felt out of place. And the walking on the edge was a cheesy shot.

    Anne Hathaway is phenomenal.

    The musical really wasn't well written thirty years ago so it wasn't going to have any better lyrics in movie form.

    Did you see the non-musical Les Mis movie?

  5. Ahahahahah.

    That comic is GOOOOLD.

    I've yet to see Les Miserables (...I KNOW), but shall do so soon. Promise. Pinky swear! I'll prepare myself for all the ugly crying (I mean, I cry during a schmaltzy scene of The Mighty Ducks, for Christ's sake, so, you know, I can pretty much guarantee ugly crying).


    1. (Okay, now I totally have Joey Potter's GODAWFUL rendition of On My Own stuck in my head. Noooooooooooooo.)

  6. AHHHHHHHHH LES MISERABLES! When Alice told me you went to see it I kinda fan-girled. AH I love it so much.

    I think the only thing that REALLY bothered me was that they cut out Epionine's part in the final song. They gave it to the Bishop. Which makes sense and it worked well. But I love Eponine and hated to see that get taken away from her. Ah well.

    Also - they cut some of the songs out from their soundtrack. Like "Do You Hear the People Sing" and "A Little Fall of Rain." WTF?

    I also agree with the song they added. However, in order for the movie to get acknowledgment from the Academy for the music, they needed to have something original. Not the best reasoning for throwing a song in there - but understandable.

    The other complaints you mentioned, I agree, but it didn't bother me all that much. So... whateves.

    And everything else - YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!!! I want to see it again.

  7. Oh- and I just found this of Russell Crowe singing "Stars" with just the piano, and it sounds better than it did in the movie:

  8. I had a really hard time getting past Marius' weird face. I feel confident in saying they couldn't have picked a more funny looking guy to play the part.

    ALSO! I've always had the book on my 'must read' list, and the movie pushed me to read the book. I'm reading it now, and it's SO GOOD! I just finished Fantine (Book 1) and it's heartbreaking! HEARTBREAKING! And surprisingly relatable (sorry, I know that's not a real word) even for today. That Victor Hugo fella knew what he was writin'!

  9. Have you seen The Prestige? The entire time I'm watching it all I think is "Batman vs. Wolverine"

  10. I only just saw Les Mis last night and I actually didn't know the story (what! I haven't read it...or seen the musical...oh there are no excuses!).

    And I was like wow, man, the title is really no joke.

    1. Also I mostly could only think of these two things...

  11. nicee ) I will be happy if u follow me :)

  12. I am so embarrassed to admit that...I haven't actually seen Les Mis yet. BUT BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME TOO HARSHLY, I know that I will ugly cry and when I ugly cry I honk like a goose. Out of respect for my fellow movie-goers, I'm waiting for the DVD so that I can honk all the tears in the privacy of my own home. Or, rather, at Boyfriend's house because he has a way better TV.


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