Les Miserables-seen it!

caught it this afternoon. it’s great; there were no real surprises for me. i expected to love it, and i did. i expected (and got) an excellent performance from hugh jackman. helena bonham carter and sasha baron cohen are hysterical and tons of fun to watch.

another fulfilled expectation was russell crowe as javert, which i thought would be kinda eh, and it was. i really wanted to like him in that role, and i did at times, but he just doesn’t play the part with the passion that jackman had. it’s not even about the fact that crowe doesn’t have the strongest voice. it just kinda seemed like he was phoning it in some of the time.

actually, i kind of lied before, because one thing that was unexpected for me was anne hathaway. i thought i would like her in the role, and i liked her very much, but the real surprise for me was the scene where she sings “i dreamed a dream”. i don’t think i can do it justice with words-let’s just say hathaway deserves to take home the oscar solely based on the strength of that scene. just an amazing, powerful, heartbreaking performance. good show.

the rest of the cast does very well. it was great to see colm wilkinson onscreen, and to hear that voice again…i teared up a little. valjean, fantine, and the thenardiers were the standouts for me, but they all do quite well. i really loved it. i’d like to see it get a best picture nod, jackman best actor, and hathaway best actress, the latter of whom i think has the only real chance at a win. i think lincoln and daniel day lewis are going to walk away with best picture and actor, respectively.

if you enjoy the stage show, you should enjoy this. it very much does it justice.

I have not seen it yet. Crowe was what I most worried about. Javert is by far the hardest part. The songs that feature Javert can be a muddy mess in the wrong hands. Or it can be the highlight of the show with a master like Phillip Quast. I was hoping Crowe would surprise me be I guess not.

Agreed - Russell was barely adequate as Javert. “Stars” had no resonance, no meaning, and the next event (no spoiler, but YOU know what I mean) kind of doesn’t make sense. His scenes with Valjean were slightly better played; maybe Russ just needs someone to bounce off, he’s not much of a monologuer.

I loved Eddie Redmayne as Marius. The Cosette/Marius romance never got me before, in the way it got me today. Maybe I’m just getting sentimental in my old age.

Hathaway’s Fantine was special. Jackman’s Valjean was both emotional and heroic.

I didn’t much like the cinematography - lots and lots of ECUs, right in the face of the singer, rather than letting us see the scene around them.

Loved it. Can’t wait to see it again, preferably in a sing-along version!

I liked it, but I’ve also never seen it on stage–just the anniversary concert on DVD. Anne Hathaway’s Fantine is amazing, and I’d probably recommend it just on the strength of her performance. Crowe!Javert is definitely not great (and who decided to give him a beard?), but he grew on me and was never distractingly bad.

araminty, the close-up issue bothered me, too–in fact, it’s probably my biggest complaint about the film. I wonder if it’s got something to do with the way they recorded the sound? If the actors are singing through during filming, maybe the songs wouldn’t flow so well cutting between different takes? (But surely there has to be a better and less distracting way to handle it!)

In general, he just didn’t have the intensity that the character really requires, IMO. The character is one of hard and fast rules, stern unquestioning justice, and an iron fist. The voice needs to match that level of determination and Crowe’s voice just doesn’t reach that. His acting performance was pretty decent, though, and for the most part his singing wasn’t distractingly bad.

In general, I was really pleased with the movie - there are a lot of changes (fleshing out of certain scenes, changing the order of some songs, shortening some songs) but I actually agree with pretty much all of them. Some things in the show are glossed over in ways that wouldn’t necessarily work at the movies, so they changed those in ways that worked pretty well.

And I’m probably going to be alone on this, but I personally didn’t like Hugh Jackman’s voice at all. His acting was great the whole way through, no complaints there. But his singing … didn’t like it. It was blaring, thin, and grating over time. The way he sang “Bring Him Home”, in particular, was not at all what I was hoping for.

I loved the movie, but wasn’t fond of the extra song. My daughter thought it was just something they put in to try to get an Oscar for original song, but if that’s so I don’t think they will be successful.

I agree that some people seemed weak, but when it was all put together, it was great. I went to an 11AM show and it was packed.

Daughter and I went to the noon show (first screening in our area), and I loved it. A few lines were cut that I’d hoped would be left in, such as the first few lines of “Drink with Me,” and I pretty much agree with interface2x about both Crowe’s seeming lack of determination and Jackman’s voice. The acting by both was excellent, though.

And I really, really loved Samantha Barks. I got through Fantine’s scenes okay, but “A Little Fall of Rain” always brings a tear to my eye…

“Colette.” “Cosette” “Whatever.”

Saw it. My mom doesn’t want to see it because it’s “too depressing”
I loved that Hathaway’s movie version of “I Dreamed a Dream” was different than the one they used in the teaser/trailer. Her performance was one of those that you just sit and watch knowing you’re seeing an Oscar winning performance just like Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln or Natalie Portman in Black Swan or Val Kilmer in Tombstone.

Ooh boy. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a movie.

The work by the actors is universally stellar, and the songs are very well sung. Hathaway and Jackman have (deservedly) been the focus of attention, but there’s some amazing work on display all around. The one minor exception is Crowe, whose voice just isn’t resonant enough for the character. I did enjoy the non-vocal aspects of his performance, though - as an actor, he conveys Javert’s inner conflict with subtlety and dignity. The decision to record the audio live pays off in full, as you can always tell the actor is really singing the words you’re hearing, and it builds incredible emotional verisimilitude on a deep, primal level.

That said… Damn. That may be the worst-directed movie musical I’ve ever seen. Hooper has absolutely no sense of visual style, and basically employs just two camera angles in the entire movie: the in-your-face close-up and the sweeping crane shot up and away. He almost ruins Hathaway’s and Barks’ lovely performances of the show’s two signature songs. Really, the only two songs in which he shows any visual imagination whatsoever are “Master of the House” and “Look Down.” The rest are endless, plodding sequences of close-ups, cutting to whomever happens to be singing, followed by a single crane shot at the end to show off the CGI environment.

It’s incredibly boring filmmaking, and feels like a huge wasted opportunity considering the caliber of work done by the performers on camera. :frowning:

My SO and I went to see Les Miserable yesterday.
Neither of us had ever seen the musical on stage.
My SO thought it was a good film.
I didn’t.

Just as background, I think the worst musical of all time is CATS - I loathed that show with every fiber of my being. Les Miserable is better than CATS - but only by a whisker.

For me, after about 20 minutes, I was hoping someone would please just put me out of Les Misery.

Every song seems to have been written in the highest range of every singer - so imagine the thrill of listening to people sing - for hours, mind you - straining to hit the very tip-top of their vocal range.

Add to that the joy of every song sounding exactly the same as every other song and you have hours and hours of the same damed song, with only slight variances throughout - it was the equivalent of a bunch of drunks singing “100 bottles of beer on the wall” over and over again.

I will admit that this film will be required viewing by students for decades to come - no, not musical theater students; it will be required of dermatology and dental students. The director just LOVES close ups, and I do mean CLOSE ups. Moles and molars - that’s what you get to see. You could really zero in on every blemish and try to guess if that mole was benign or not. You could also see if most actors had silver or gold filings and see who had caps on their teeth and if there were any signs of gum disease. Put that on an 80 foot screen and you can literally see ingrown hairs on Russel Crowe’s face. Gee, was that fun.

I pity the poor set designers who probably spent months designing and building intricate sets, accurate in every detail, only to have the director pan over those sets so fast you couldn’t tell if the furniture was from IKEA. By about the last 10 minutes of the film, when you are finally allowed to see some panoramic views of outside and daylight, you feel like you have to put on sunglasses for the glare of the light.

I had heard I should bring a box of tissues along for the copious tears I was going to shed during the course of this film. I used those tissues to wipe some butter off my armrest. Anne Hathaway emoted and wept (perhaps thinking of her dismal performance at that Oscar hosting job, and hoping to get another chance to stand on stage at the Oscars) and Hugh Jackman tried his best to make these lyrics sound like Sondheim, knowing full well they were more like lyrics from Dr. Seuss. Even Helen Bonham Carter showed up in her Sweeney Todd costume and seemed to be trying to find Johnny Depp in the crowd somewhere.

Call me heartless and unfeeling, but as characters died and fell by the wayside, I kept hoping that would be the end of this film/musical - but with a cast of thousands, it took forever for them to bite the final baguette.

I really do like Broadway musicals, and have worked in the theater, performed in stage shows, and used to see almost every show in NYC when I lived there. I also like many filmed versions of Broadway musicals - most recently I thought the filmed version of Chicago was great and yes, I even liked the filmed version of Sweeney Todd.

I suspect I would probably not have liked Les Miserable even on the stage. That said, this filmed version has ensured I will never bother seeing a staged version of Les Miserable in my lifetime. I pity the poor schmucks who worked on the live, Broadway version of Les Mis and had to hear it over and over again, night after night, for years. At some point, they probably started to envy their colleagues who worked on CATS.

Saw it yesterday with my 15 year old niece. Afterward I asked her if she cried, and she said “only once.” I said “when was that?” she said “From the time Fantine was kicked out onto the street, until the credits.” She was exagerating, but she did go through a lot of napkins. The woman next to me was sobbing. I didn’t want my niece to see me wiping away tears so I sat there stoically while they ran down into my beard. :slight_smile:

Anyway I agree with most of these comments (except DMark). I thought the movie was great, overall. The acting was superb from all corners, especially Hathaway, Jackman and… was it Barks? Cohen and Bonham-Carter were well cast as the inkeeper and his wife. Russel’s acting was good but not stellar (heh). I thought the sets and costumes were well designed, and the changes to the playbook (that I noticed - it’s been two decades since I saw it on stage) were reasonable.

Minor quibbles:

  • Jackman spoke into many of his songs, and played with the tempo. I guess this was an acting decision. But I know he can sing, I wish he committed himself more to the songs.
  • Not being overly familiar with the lyrics, I found some of the songs harder to follow (especially “Master of the House.” I blame the sound mixers here for drowning out the vocals with the music and sound effects.
  • Crowe did not bring any passion to the role, especially in his singing. He also looked awkward with his hands hanging down by his side while singing on the ledge (both times).

I didn’t mind the close-ups too much, and I liked that the actors were not over-made up. You could see every blemish, which lended realism at least. Not that I would have minded occasional medium shots.

Hathaway really steals this movie. She really deserves serious Oscar consideration.

Mee-ow! Hand in your gay card, mister!

Amazing except for the singing, which was overshadowed by (fantastic) acting, rather than emoting through the melody. Which is a shame because most of the cast can sing, they just haven’t learned to sing through their acting, or perhaps were directed not to.

Surprisingly historic and realistic sets, combined with live singing and close up filming, gives it a feeling of hyperrealness.

Hathaway is brilliant and no doubt Oscar bait. Cast is generally great except perhaps for Crowe as Javert who seems out of his element, and Seyfried as Cossette who is a bit too fluttery.

Ambitious and surprising, Les Mis is a visionary film, but a stunted mus


I really liked it. I’ve never seen the musical, and I can’t recall if I skimmed the book or just read broad synopses, but generally didn’t know the story very well. I have heard a billion versions of I Dreamed a Dream though (since we played it in band one year in high school), and thought Hathaway’s was the best I’ve heard. Most singers seem to power through it and treat it like a very grand song and showcase their singing talent, but Hathaway took the song for what it was: a song by somebody that is just completely and utterly broken inside. She really gets the emotion that should be in that song, rather than treating it like Singing Talent Theater. Keep in mind I haven’t seen a live production, this is just based on the recordings I’ve heard.

The rest of the movie was good, definitely. I didn’t really like the Thernadier scenes a super lot, and found myself getting antsy during them, but that’s more of a criticism of the underlying musical than the performance itself. I shouldn’t really say that, I really liked them when they were interacting with Valjean or Cossette etc, when it was just them alone pulling some scam by themselves, that was when I didn’t like them. They really only shined when they were up next to a more serious character, but they were absolutely great when they did have that contrast.

The bottom line is that I loved it.

In retrospect I do recognize some of the criticisms that have been directed against it, and they have merit, but in the end they don’t matter that much. What counts is that the movie delivered the same emotional wallop as the stage musical.

I remember the first time I saw Les Miz on stage, maybe 20 years ago, it was nothing less than a transformative emotional experience. I’ve seen it maybe a dozen times since then.

All my own criticisms about the movie are nitpicks where it didn’t follow the play exactly. They don’t detract from my overall view.

I saw it and liked it well enough, I had never seen Les Mis before then or even heard any songs so which song was the original?

“Suddenly”, which Valjean sings to young Cosette as he is traveling away with her. The entire scene is not in the stage musical.

I saw it last night and agree with most of the comments. I have seen the stage show, but didn’t particularly like it, and I have never really liked the music of Les Miserables. But I though they did as good a job as possible of filming it.

No question Anne Hathaway gives the best performance, and should win the Oscar for “I Dreamed A Dream”. She made the song work in a way that it never has before. I feel bad for Kelly Reilly of Flight, whom I was saying here yesterday should win Best Supporting Actress.

After Anne Hathaway my favorite performance was by Aaron Tveit as Enjolras (as soon as I got out of the theater I was on my phone looking up the name of both the actor and the part – he’s the student leading the resistance). He’s very young, so I hope I see him go on to greatness. I also thought Samantha Barks did an incredible job as Eponine.

Although I didn’t cry at all during the movie in spite of the rampant sobbing going on on either side of me, I woke up singing and with a strange desire to see the movie again. I’m moving it up to #2 on my list of this year’s favorites, right behind Lincoln.

My favorite review of the movie is this one from another message board:

I took my 18 year sci/fy nerd son with me to see Les Miz. Granted he loves musicals as much as him mom. He loved it. Our whole family is planning on seeing it a second time.