Friday, December 28, 2012

Les Misérables Review

Don't you wish you lived in a world where all everyone did was sing? Sing when you're in jail. Sing when you're in court. Sing when you're having a problem. Sing when you are a prostitute about to... uhhh... get some money? Sing when your daughter wants to know what the heck is happening. Sing when you read the love letter to your daughter. Sing when you jump off a bridge. Sing your loudest when everyone around you is sleeping and not have them hear you at all. Or not. Maybe your with me and would prefer to talk everyone once in a while. Yup, you guessed it. I just got back from seeing Les Mis and giving you my thoughts about it.

I'll be perfectly honest. Before seeing Les Mis tonight in the theater, I had never seen any movie or play production of Les Mis and have never read the novel. This is a fact that I am more embarrassed about then proud of. In no way am I against Les Mis, its just for some odd reason I had never got around to seeing it. So I repented of my past mistakes and went in to this with very high hopes as all my friends seemed to be in love with it. How did I like it? Uh, well, I left the theater with an overall good impression of the movie, but I do have some reservations about what I saw that hopefully don't get me stoned too bad by Les Mis fans.

So lets start with what a referred to in my first paragraph. This is obviously a musical. I enjoy musicals, I really do. In fact, I love music in general. I took six years of band throughout grade school and while I never took choir, I always enjoyed singing. In fact I have roommates that have said living with me is like living in a musical. Something will be said that will remind me of a song and I will just break out singing randomly. However, most musicals I have seen include part talking dialogue (non-singing) and part song. A lot of Disney animated movies are like this. I say that because I watched the movie Tangled right before going to Les Mis. And before you stone me for claiming those aren't real musicals, let me redeem myself by comparing this with Fiddler on the Roof. That's a movie musical that includes dialogue and music together. A Fiddler on the Roof style of movie is what I expected when I went into this movie. And what I got was a movie that never stopped singing for the entire 157 minutes. Yes, that style did bother me a bit. And by a bit I probably mean more than a bit. Go re-read my first paragraph for a few examples of this that I found a bit ridiculous.

That aside, another thing that bothered me was that the first half of the movie was really raunchy. A big part of this was Anne Hathaway's part. I really loved her in The Dark Knight Rises and so I was excited for her role in this, especially after the Oscar buzz is all over her. But seriously? Prostitute version of Anne Hathaway was not pleasant to watch. I mean, if you are going have a movie that includes prostitutes, can you at least do more implying? Watching a dirty, beaten up Anne Hathaway get partially stripped down and watching the guy have sex with her (no nudity shown) was extremely gross. Oh but we weren't done there. We then get graced with a whole song in a whore house (or whatever that was), led by Thénardier couple (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter). No nudity is shown, but there is plenty of cleavage to go around in that scene (which includes a girl getting it on with Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas I guess) as well as before and after and pretty much every time we see Anne Hathaway.

Now lets quickly move on from that. If you have made it this far into my review, you will now be rewarded with what I thought was great. And that would be the second half of the movie. Jean Valjean adopts the extremely adorable Cosette. That little girl was just a sweatheart that I fell in love with. After that happens, we shortly get fast-forwarded into the future when Cosette is a young lady played by Amanda Seyfried and from this point on the movie was fantastic. It was emotional, moving, and well-acted. Yes, the movie was a touch on the long side, but I felt it needed the good long ending that it had in order to semi redeem itself from the awful beginning. And of course the music was great, even if I thought there was a bit too much of it.

Now lets end this by going over the musical stars. In my eyes, Isabelle Allen (young Cosette) and Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) stole the show for me. Those two young child actors singing were just adorable. Next most impressive was the amazing and beautiful voice of Samantha Barks (Éponine). The cute young couple played by Amanda Seyfried (older Cosette) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) did a great job, although I will admit that I was slightly more impressed by Eddie than Amanda. Hugh Jackman did fantastic throughout most of the movie, although there were a few iffy moments for him. Anne Hathaway despite her awful role, actually did have a great voice that I have to praise. Cohen and Carter get an all around F from me, both in singing and in acting. And Russell Crowe, uh.... well, lets just say he shouldn't make a habit of doing musicals. Aaron Tveit as Enjolras was our other main singer and I did enjoy him as well.

Ending with my overall grade, I didn't hate this movie. Although not what I expected, I did have a positive feeling coming out of it because of the fantastic ending, but I can't ignore the raunchiness of the movie. That's something that I really don't appreciate and can't praise. This movie has given me a desire to go see other Les Mis productions and movies, but this specific one was a miss for me. 6 out 10.


  1. Fine review Adam. A valiant effort to create a more authentic approach to the musical genre, Tom Hooper's Les Misérables is often far too self-serious and humorless for its own good and not all of the actors can sing well, but the performances of Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway make up for some of the flaws.

  2. Adam, you certainly wouldn't enjoy opera theatre; singing throughout.

    1. I enjoy opera. Just not as much as a typical musical with dialogue and music