15 comments on “Les Misérables

  1. Nice review. I had a mixed opinion on this film. I enjoyed the performances but found the movie to be bombastic, particularly Tom Hooper’s direction.

  2. Good review. I really l;voed this movie and does what all musicals should do: emotionally-impact you to the core. I know I’m in the minority on this one, but still, I really liked this one.

  3. I definitely liked this way more the second time I saw it. I was not even going to go again but when I did I connected with it a lot more. I was unfamiliar with the music and I found it to be kind of a drawback (plus I wasn’t expecting there to be THAT much singing) but the second time it was much better.
    I get what you’re saying about the big faces though. When he was singing the song about how all his revolutionary friends are dead I was thinking: “Eddie Redmayne needs a shave” which was not even true and I wouldn’t have thought it if it hadn’t been such an extreme close up. Also it distracted from the sadness of the song, instead of intensifying it as it was probably meant to.
    I also really wish this had had an intermission. There was a clear place there could have been one (I’m assuming that’s where it is in the stage show) but Hooper didn’t give it to us for some reason. I think it would have helped the length a lot if I just could have taken a break, which is of course why they invented intermissions in the first place!

    • An intermission would have been wonderful! So glad to hear that it wasn’t just me who got distracted by the extreme faces. I kept wondering if Redmayne’s freckles were makeup or not.

      • I felt sorry for Redmayne, too. When I listen to the soundtrack, I think, “Wow, he has a really beautiful voice.” Watching the film, I thought, “That’s a weird-looking dude.” Which he isn’t, but human heads aren’t usually that big. It was like being at Easter Island. 🙂

  4. I liked it, mostly, but I’d seen the show on stage and knew more or less what to expect. I did find the close-ups along with some of the camera work. During “What Have I Done” the camera seemed to be scurrying back and forth after Valjean like a puppy at dinnertime.

    I agree that Anne Hathaway was the best thing in it, which is one reason the second act can seem overly long. As I said on my blog, I have to pay more attention to her – I’d just seen The Dark Knight Rises a few days before, and she’s easily the best thing in both pictures.

    And the roles are pretty different. 🙂

      • I just read that Scarlett Johansson was considered for Fantine (and Taylor Swift for Eponine).

        Yikes. That would have eliminated the two best performances in the picture. Well, Robert Altman used to say that the most important thing he did in his movies was the casting.

  5. This is actually my favorite movie of the year thus far. Like CMrok said though, it pretty much boils down to the fact that it really hit me emotionally (and the music is great, of course). I also am a big fan of melodrama and musicals as well, so it’s probably just right up my alley. I definitely prefer it to “Chicago.” I will be pretty disappointed if Hathaway somehow loses the Oscar.

    • Aaron, I’m a little disappointed Les Mis didn’t hit me very hard emotionally. But I am much more open to musicals now than I was in years past. Perhaps this will grow on me more over time, I hope.

  6. I stand by my comments on your “Predictions” posting about it not being my favorite musical. I still can’t remember the actual melodies of the two (really well-acted) solo musical numbers performed by Jackman and Crowe; and while I still appreciate the close-ups giving the film the intimacy which it so lacked on stage, I thinks your criticism is right on the mark–too much and too often the faces were engulfing the whole screen. I still think part of this is a matter of a balancing act between basically emotionless music and grand-scale set concepts. Whatever one thinks of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the music of Phantom is memorable and the emotion evident whether one is on the 4th row orchestra or in the 2nd balcony. With LES MIS, not so much–maybe more mid-range shots would have done just as well. And yet, one of the best numbers in the film was “One More Day” partially because of the great editing and the crown jewel was the “Dream” number which made me weep, closeups and all. Still one of the top 5 and Anne Hathaway should absolutely win Supporting Actress for that display. Would not object to an Oscar for Art Direction, either. And To stick up for Hooper a bit, I think he did improve on the Broadway production.

    • Ken, I have never seen a Broadway musical production (but God I want to!), so I can only imagine the differences. Yes, there is something delightfully un-catchy about the songs. I don’t really mind it, they stay in the moment and don’t linger much. The only melody I can really recall in my head was Look Down, probably because it was such a strong opening and the theme came back now and then throughout the film.

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