Thursday, January 17, 2013

Movie Review No. 2: Les Miserables

I know I already wrote a review of Les Miserables, but I don't feel like I did it justice.  I really REALLY loved this movie.  In case you've never seen a production of the musical, it's about a group of people struggling through the French Revolution.  Hugh Jackman is Valjean, the main character.  Russell Crowe is Javert, the policeman and antagonist to Valjean.  Anne Hathaway is the single-mother factory worker-turned syphilitic prostitute. Valjean promises to take care of her daughter when she dies.  He raises her but is always on the run from Javert.  And so on.  If you don't know the rest, go see the movie.

I LOVE Hugh Jackman.  And it's not just because he's so handsome.  Or that he is Wolverine.  I like all the movies he's been in (except maybe Van Helsing).  And he has a real-life wife who seems normal and sensible who he loves.  That's pretty cool.  He was a fabulous Valjean.  His voice gets a little too Kathryn Hepburn-quavery for my taste sometimes though, but what do I know?

I've heard a lot of criticism about Russell Crowe playing Javert.  I don't get it.  I thought he was fantastic.  Javert is a tough, no-nonsense, black-and-white hardass, and Crowe played that perfectly.  I liked his singing too.  What was wrong with it???  I don't get your beef, Adam Lambert, so just shut it.

Anne Hathaway has always kind of bugged me because she's such a beautiful doofus.  Despite that I thought she was outstanding. OUTSTANDING. She has earned any and every award she gets for her part in this movie, no matter how annoying her acceptance speeches may be. (Blerg) The woman starved herself and lost 25 pounds in a few weeks, had her gorgeous head of hair chopped off onscreen, and sang that song how it's supposed to be sung (I'm talking to you, Susan Boyle) with her whole face filling the screen.  She was awesome.

The kid that played Gavroche was fantastic.  The first time I saw the movie I watched him with my jaw hanging open.  He's so good.  His part is small but man, he was good.

I liked Sacha Baron Cohen as Thenardier too.  He was a smooth con-man.  He was great.  So was Madam Thenardier played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Samantha Barks was a name I never heard before this movie but she was another one that I watched with my mouth hanging open.  She's a perfect Eponine.  Perfect.  When she sang "Little Fall of Rain" with Eddie Redmayne I was weep-choking.

I'm not really one to cry at movies but this one had me crying in several spots.  Usually I avoid movies that can do that to me because who wants to cry in public?  Not me.  This was a good cry though.  I cried during Anne Hathaway's raw rendition of I Dreamed a Dream.  No, I didn't cry.  That implies that I had a single solitary pretty tear flowing down my cheek.  That's not how it was.  My face was contorted and my nose was running.  It would have been embarrassing if I was the only one who was doing it, but every other person in the theater was sniffling too.  The other place that got me was when Marius (Eddie Redmayne) sang "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables."  Weepy bawling.  So good.  And of course, when Eponine died and sang "Little Fall of Rain."  Weep-choking.

"A little fall of rain can't hurt me now.  (Because I've been gut shot and I'm going to
bleed  and die here in the rain next to a boy I love who loves someone else. )"

I bought the soundtrack which is wonderful but is lacking some key songs from the movie.  I'm hoping there will be an additional volume coming out sometime or else I will have to wait for the movie to come out on DVD and just play that all the time.

If you haven't seen it, you should.  It is one of the best movies I've seen in a very long time.  Except for the sewer part.  That part still bugs me.


  1. Seriously. I am dead inside. I agree with you on how good everyone was. I cried at the Lorax, for chrissakes. I think I have a problem buying into Anne Hathaway playing a French-revolution era prostitute. I blame the media for knowing too much about her life to suspend disbelief and really get into the story. I much prefer stage productions and indies with "no-names" as they are easier to buy the whole actor-as-character thing. Also? I have a tiny black heart.

    1. I'm a little bit worried about you. How could you sit dry eyed when Eddie Redmayne sang Empty Chairs? I was trying not to sob out loud. And I've been on anti-depressants for over a decade so I'm otherwise an emotional robot. You will be the first person I call if I ever need a hit(wo)man.

  2. I've been holding out on watching this movie because everyone talks about how much they cry...and i just haven't found a good time that I want to do that to myself. I used to love to watch movies that would just torture me, but now...I don't know...I'm older, I've got kids...I am a little choosier about whether or not I want a good long choke cry. I ditto Brutalism's comment about Anne Hathaway. I can't see it.

  3. The immortal story of Victor Hugo has again found a good musical production, but only those who are admirers of the genre of musicals could appreciate it to the full.


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