Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Les Misérables- the film

I've been waiting for this movie for the past year and a half- quite literally. Tumblr proved itself to be a worth source of update. This incessant following is what happens when you're a big fan of musicals and are dedicated to following the work of the actors you adore. Also, it's received eight Oscar nominations, so you're expecting great things, right? I enjoyed it, but I expected more. Hear me out before you shoot me down. I'm a cynic so I rarely find things as fabulous as they probably are.

THE STORYLINE: Phenomenal, but then again it is one of the longest running musicals in history. It's just a beautifully crafted story which has something in there which will mean something to everyone. However, I don't think the film really can take the credit perhaps? No, the plot after all is taken from the book by Victor Hugo. 

THE CAST: Everyone knows that Les Mis is a star-studded cast all round. The big names are half of the reason why people are being reeled in to see it. In terms of acting, I found Hathaway, who plays Fantine, (as everyone else has done) shone- she was simply breathtaking. It feels weird to think that she once played Princess Mia. She has seemlessly gone from strength to strength in her career. She presented the Oscars last year and could easily win one this year.Then there was Eddie Redmayne who plays Marius. My friends have to  filter through my opinion when speak about him. His one of my British boys who I adore. I spent every minute he was on the screen trying to tear his performance apart, but he was gorgeous in a purely talent-based way. I'd go as far as to say he wasn't even looking 'on point', I just found my heart melt when cried, his rendition of 'empty chairs at empty tables' was outstanding. However, there's a note on the music I need to make later on in this post. The true stand out stars for me were the little one- quite literally. I adored Daniel Huttlestone playing Gavroche and Isabelle Allen as a young Cosette. In fact, Huttlestone is the only one who almost brought a tear to my eye. One last person I loved was Samantha Banks, she was lovely, but that might just be my British self being proud...

THE MUSIC: It's Les Mis, the music is quite literally the script. Yes, you should probably remember before you go and see it that they sing the entire way through. The music was already there for them, and of course it's beautiful so they had plenty to work with. What I think they handled perfectly was not over-doing the performance of the numbers. I don't like it when musical films are performed theatrically. There is a different are to musical theatre and film musical theatre. They decided to make it far more tamed- more realistic. Sung live, most performances edged on being very truthful. I'll tell the truth though, before I went I had listened to the soundtrack, and I was thoroughly disappointed. As referenced to earlier, I had listened to Redmayne's version of 'empty chairs at empty tables' and it just seemed flat. Yet, on the screen it was brought to life. Many of the songs were chilling because of the fact they weren't powerful vocally throughout. If I was going to buy a soundtrack for Les Mis, I'd recommend buying the West End version. However, I suppose an issue which does seep through is the fact that not all of the actors are classically trained, but sometimes it's fabulous to find the actor can sing. Redmayne, for one, I wasn't surprised could sing, I knew about his choir boy roots so I knew he could hold a note. Also, Tveit who plays Enjolras, had been on Broadway. Crowe, however, was a complete surprise. Also, Jackman's been having all of the attention especially since his Oscar nomination, but I'm going to say it plainly, I'm not a fan. Before someone bites my head off, I know that Jackman has had experience in theatre, presented the Tony's and all, but that's why I was so disappointed. I preferred Crowe throughout. I only began to partially like Jackman at the end. For the rest of the film, I didn't seem to connect with his performance at all.

ZEE PUTS IN HER BIT...A tale of love and loss, and three hours of singing. Les Miserables was fantastic! Having only known a few of the songs and the story when I walked in, I walked out of that cinema singing the songs and wiping away my tears. The one thing I noticed was the costume and make up design - there is a huge cast and no one looks out of place. My favourite scene? It would have to be the comedy pickpocket scene with Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter - very funny and a great source of relief. Only downside? The singing is a little hit or miss... Don't shoot me it's just an opinion! And I for one thought Russell Crowe portrayed his character and sang a lot better than Hugh Jackman. However, they all were fabulous and the whole production has given credit to the Les Miserables name!


Vanessa said...

I so badly want to watch this, but part of me is holding out as I think I'd prefer to watch Les Mis in Theatre first! A very honest review thanks :) x

Kate Lees said...

It really is a fabulous movie x

Rachel, Cold Knees said...

I thoroughly enjoyed it too, and deffo thought Russell Crowe wasn't as bad as everyone was saying! I loved Daniel Huttlestone too but then he's played Gavroche in the West End.. it was amazing though! xx


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