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Les Miserables - 9/12/2012 8:24:26 PM   
Empire Admin

 

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Excitement! - 9/12/2012 8:24:26 PM   
polkadotty5


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This review has only heightened my anticipation. The Paris soundstages were recently revealed in a featurette that made them look pretty impressive actually, but of course I'll reserve judgement until I see them properly.
I've had enough of Samantha Barks not getting the recognition she deserves in the Les Mis promo material, bit disappointed that she got no mention here either.
Hmm, I'm a bit torn about whether I like Anne's take on I Dreamed A Dream. In the footage revealed so far, it seems as if all the actors are trying too hard to get an Oscar. I find myself thinking 'just sing the bloody song!', especially in Who Am I?; I was so looking forward to the brilliant 'I'M JEAN VALJEAN' but no such luck. Also, as one Youtube commenter brilliantly put it, Amanda Seyfried overdoes the vibrato so much she sounds like a 'bleating goat on helium'. I know she can sing beautifully so I'm not sure why she's decided the caprine route is a good one, but she's not the only one of the cast overdoing it in my opinion. I'll be back when I've finally seen it to answer my own questions! Still, a fine review thanks Helen :)

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RE: Excitement! - 10/12/2012 1:29:04 PM   
Dannybohy


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What was wrong with the Liam Neeson version! it was great and best of all , no singing!

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RE: Excitement! - 10/12/2012 11:45:22 PM   
Coyleone


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I really have no desire to see this even if the reviews are so good.

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RE: Les Miserables - 16/12/2012 8:10:52 AM   
demoncleaner


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I'm looking forward to this.

No, not really. I'd rather cut my own fucking legs off, really.

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RE: Les Miserables - 16/12/2012 5:17:09 PM   
Hood_Man


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Can't wait

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- 29/12/2012 4:18:34 PM   
kirtley

 

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Saw this tonight. Agree with Empire's review. Some of the sets looked a bit small-scale. But Anne Hathaway was incredible. Reminded me of Judi Dench's Oscar nod for Shakespere in Love. Ie not much screen time but she totally killed it. Amazing performance. Her 'I dreamed a dream' was haunting. Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were very good also. Amanda Siegfried was the let down for me..... She warbled through the few songs she had.

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RE: Les Miserables - 1/1/2013 3:48:12 AM   
england_cmr


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Loved this film and agree with Empires review as well. Anne Hathaway is simply stunning in this film. I don't recall a more Oscar worthy performance in recent years apart from perhaps Charlize Theron on 'Monster'. The rest of the film generally lives up to her fantastic scenes, but I did find Amanda Seyfrieds character and story line to be a bit of a drip. I think her reason to be 'miserable' just didn't live up to Anne Hathaways and the storyline felt weaker for it. Other than that, brilliant film.

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RE: Excitement! - 1/1/2013 7:33:24 PM   
BelfastBoy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: polkadotty5

as one Youtube commenter brilliantly put it, Amanda Seyfried overdoes the vibrato so much she sounds like a 'bleating goat on helium'. I know she can sing beautifully so I'm not sure why she's decided the caprine route is a good one, but she's not the only one of the cast overdoing it in my opinion. I'll be back when I've finally seen it to answer my own questions! Still, a fine review thanks Helen :)


Seyfried was heavy on the vibrato in Mamma Mia as well so it's obviously just her approach. (Am not big on singing techniques so is this something that people do naturally or is it a style that can be adopted or removed easily?) Talking of vibrato, Jackman's overuse of it on Bring Him Home is distracting to the point of being virtually unlistenable.

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Ho-Hum - 7/1/2013 11:24:01 AM   
bretty

 

Posts: 216
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Well, while it had a fantastic look to it, I was not blown away and kind of glad I didn't see this on stage. Hard to fault the acting of Jackman (less so Crowe) and he made a reasonable attempt at the singing (less so Crowe again) but I found t hard to really engage and care about anyone.

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Post #: 10
One of the few that has to be that good to be worth it - 7/1/2013 2:13:23 PM   
blindfold

 

Posts: 118
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Meh.. If it ain't FIVE stars and has some serious issues with the singing then I think i'll stick to the stage and wait for the better version decades to come. Who wants to leave Les Mis going well.. it wasn't perfect!

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RE: Excitement! - 8/1/2013 10:54:20 PM   
polkadotty5


Posts: 80
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quote:

ORIGINAL: BelfastBoy

Seyfried was heavy on the vibrato in Mamma Mia as well so it's obviously just her approach. (Am not big on singing techniques so is this something that people do naturally or is it a style that can be adopted or removed easily?) Talking of vibrato, Jackman's overuse of it on Bring Him Home is distracting to the point of being virtually unlistenable.


Technical vibrato is a style that can be adopted and removed yes - it is learnt thing. Of course some people have vibrato inherently in their natural voice, but I really doubt the level of Amanda's vibrato is natural! The best musical theatre actors are the ones who can adapt and change their singing voice depending on the role (see Ramin Karimloo, Hadley Fraser) and I've heard that Amanda has had classical training, so I'm quite surprised that she took the same approach for an ABBA jukebox musical and a sweeping epic but each to their own...
Re. Bring Him Home: That's a shame, though not surprising. I don't want to get all musically pretentious on you but Jackman is a baritone and JVJ is typically played by a tenor. You can imagine it's not the easiest song to sing anyway so having a lower vocal range doesn't help matters!
Again, still haven't seen it yet. 11th cannot come fast enough!

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Post #: 12
want to watch it - 9/1/2013 10:22:06 AM   
alf1e

 

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want to watch it

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Post #: 13
want to watch it - 9/1/2013 10:22:27 AM   
alf1e

 

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want to watch it

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Post #: 14
- 9/1/2013 12:06:44 PM   
pearlbeyondprice

 

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I saw this last night at a preview showing and my advice to anybody who has seen the stage musical is this; Forget the stage show and appreciate the film for what it is. Film is a different genre and better displays the raw emotional content of the story in a far superior manner to the stage show. It allows us to glimpse at the soul destroying torment of the characters decision making process through a magnifying glass rather than a telescope and creates a far more emotive response.For me, the only flaw was Russell Crowes performance as Javert, his manner wooden and his singing whilst tuneful lacked the grit and integrity that was so in evidence with the rest of the cast. This might have been intentional on director Tom Hoopers part, it does serve to alienate Javert from any likeability and dehumanises him into a judge dread "I am the law" type caracature but it also means that his last decision in the film seems out of character.The child actors portraying Cosette and Gavroche perform their parts well proving that they were not cast purely for their looks. The casting full stop was very well done and I am not suprised about the talk of award nomination for Ann Hathaway. I had thought that it was Her performance as Fantine that would reduce me to tears but whilst emotive it is Hugh Jackmans final scene with Ann Hathaway, the death of Jean Valjean that provides the real tear jerker prior to the finale. If you're looking for West End/Broadway style vocals don't bother. If you want a film that tells the story that Victor Hugo intended to tell in a gritty, low down in you face, raw and unedited fashion where you can almost smell the stench of the poor...Watch the film. You won't regret it. My plus one for the film is not a fan of musicals and for her to say that she was glad that she had seen the film is high praise indeed.

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RE: Excitement! - 9/1/2013 3:43:22 PM   
pete_traynor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Coyleone

I really have no desire to see this even if the reviews are so good.


It looks like the worst thing that has ever happened in any artistic medium, ever! Could hit 100% on RT with 10,000 reviews and you’d still never tempt me anywhere near it.
 
But then again musicals are the work of Satan as far as I’m concerned… with the exception of The Blues Brothers, Bugsy Malone and the Muppets of course.


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RE: Excitement! - 10/1/2013 8:34:26 AM   
Marky_Mark


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From: Yorkshire
quote:

ORIGINAL: BelfastBoy

Talking of vibrato, Jackman's overuse of it on Bring Him Home is distracting to the point of being virtually unlistenable.


Heard Jackman's 'Bring Him Home' on the radio on Monday and have to agree (on audio alone). Sounded like a very emotionless vocal, a little too technical with no light and shade. Not really what you'd expect from one of the biggest tearjerker numbers in the show.

He sings the entire song in his head/chest voice too which doesn't help with conveying emotion - the last line (usually sung falsetto) is belted out with almost no control at all. The overuse of vibrato throughout is almost comical. [sigh]

Still looking forward to seeing it on Saturday though and seeing how the visuals match up.

< Message edited by Marky_Mark -- 10/1/2013 8:57:30 AM >


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RE: - 11/1/2013 11:26:32 AM   
primebhoy


Posts: 943
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From: Scotland
quote:

ORIGINAL: pearlbeyondprice

I saw this last night at a preview showing and my advice to anybody who has seen the stage musical is this; Forget the stage show and appreciate the film for what it is. Film is a different genre and better displays the raw emotional content of the story in a far superior manner to the stage show. It allows us to glimpse at the soul destroying torment of the characters decision making process through a magnifying glass rather than a telescope and creates a far more emotive response.For me, the only flaw was Russell Crowes performance as Javert, his manner wooden and his singing whilst tuneful lacked the grit and integrity that was so in evidence with the rest of the cast. This might have been intentional on director Tom Hoopers part, it does serve to alienate Javert from any likeability and dehumanises him into a judge dread "I am the law" type caracature but it also means that his last decision in the film seems out of character.The child actors portraying Cosette and Gavroche perform their parts well proving that they were not cast purely for their looks. The casting full stop was very well done and I am not suprised about the talk of award nomination for Ann Hathaway. I had thought that it was Her performance as Fantine that would reduce me to tears but whilst emotive it is Hugh Jackmans final scene with Ann Hathaway, the death of Jean Valjean that provides the real tear jerker prior to the finale. If you're looking for West End/Broadway style vocals don't bother. If you want a film that tells the story that Victor Hugo intended to tell in a gritty, low down in you face, raw and unedited fashion where you can almost smell the stench of the poor...Watch the film. You won't regret it. My plus one for the film is not a fan of musicals and for her to say that she was glad that she had seen the film is high praise indeed.


Thanks for the spoiler


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RE: RE: - 11/1/2013 11:30:03 AM   
AxlReznor

 

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You're complaining about spoilers to one of the best known stories in the world? Wow.

By the way... Scrooge buys a turkey at the end of A Christmas Carol.

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Post #: 19
RE: Les Miserables - 11/1/2013 6:44:55 PM   
R W

 

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Since its teaser trailer which featured a snippet of Anne Hathaway’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream”, Tom Hooper’s much anticipated adaptation of the hit musical Les Misérables was already getting Oscar talk and as everyone know from yesterday, the film has been nominated for eight Academy Awards that include Best Picture, Best Actor for Hugh Jackman and Best Supporting Actress for Hathaway. After all the commotion, the film is finally released and you can see why the high praise it’s getting.

After a nineteen-year sentence, the former prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) becomes mayor of a town in France. Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), the illegitimate daughter of Fantine (Hathaway), and must avoid being captured again by the police inspector Javert (Russell Crowe).

I am frankly a newbie to this story that was originally conceived in Victor Hugo’s novel, let alone the sung-through musical, and this is from someone who didn’t think much of Joel Schumacher’s The Phantom of the Opera. Set during the French Revolution, this isn’t about politics and used more as a backdrop, this is the simple story of a man running from the law, but told in the most sprawling, sing-along fashion. As the story spans over nearly two decades, Hugh Jackman carries the whole film literally on his shoulder as the physically-demanding Valjean who we are first introduced as a man down the gutter, eventually becoming a man of God and during this journey, how he struggles with his faith.

We all know Jackman can sing and here he does truly shine, and I can’t quite say the same for his fellow Australian co-star. Russell Crowe can be a commanding presence, and after roles in Gladiator and Master and Commander, he does fit the role of Javert but in the realms of singing, there’s almost a horse-face quality to his voice. Like Jackman, Anne Hathaway is no stranger to singing after voicing Princess Penelope in The Simpsons. In the small but significant role of Fantine, when Hathaway does “I Dreamed a Dream” is a moment of tears as she thinks back to happier days and wonders at all that has gone wrong in her life. This sequence alone is enough to guarantee that Hathaway will get the Oscar.

Having made something cinematic out of The King’s Speech which was originally going to be a play, director Tom Hooper achieves at transitioning Les Misérables from stage to screen. Despite the epicness of all form the breathtaking opening sequence to the compelling action set-pieces during the French Revolution, Hooper is primarily focusing on his actors who get non-cutaway close-ups while singing live. Over two and a half hours long, the film can be ragged around the edges as there are subplots that overstay their welcome, such as Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen as the unscrupulous Thénardiers, and the drippy romance between Amanda Seyfried’s Cosette and Eddie Redmayne’s Marius.

I don’t mind the occasional musical, but a sung-through one can be quite the challenge. However, I was won over by Les Misérables with its rather bombastic approach and bravura performances from Jackman and Hathaway. You’ll be coming out singing the songs after seeing this.

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RE: Les Miserables - 11/1/2013 8:32:42 PM   
Quint


Posts: 606
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From: Napa, CA
Saw this on Sunday and really enjoyed it. I am a fan of the stage musical, so know all the songs, but the film breathed new life into it and actually put some of the lyrics into a context I hadn't originally picked up on (I'm a bit slow it seems...). Jackman is fantastic in the lead and lends the role a required physicality and drive that keeps each scene moving forward. Hathaway is, as has been touted, wonderful in her small part and really deserves the plaudits coming her way. I was a fan of how Hooper shot the solos/soliloquies, with the camera almost static in a head shot, giving an unflinching view of the character as they poured their emotions out on screen - it really used the art form of cinema to tell the story in a fresh way. I can see why some people had an issue with Crowe's portrayal but personally I really liked it and thought his technical limitations and restraint echoed his characters unwillingness to bend the law and change. It might not have been an actor's choice but I thought it worked well nonetheless, and was therefore a nice bit of casting.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty great film with a few minor flaws that are made up for with the sheer spectacle of the piece.



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- 11/1/2013 10:21:48 PM   
fatboycheese

 

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Just back from cinema. Never seen audience cry so much. The person who gave this 2 stars should be guillotined! Vivè la Jackman ( and Hathaway )

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Post #: 22
Stop being such knobs - 11/1/2013 11:07:08 PM   
dsampson

 

Posts: 5
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I'm getting really sick of reviews and ratings from people who haven't actually seen the film they are talking about, can you please just grow up and either watch the film or go and do something meaningful with your time.

< Message edited by dsampson -- 11/1/2013 11:08:11 PM >

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RE: Stop being such knobs - 12/1/2013 1:25:29 AM   
elab49


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At least those posts are sticking to the topic and avoiding gratuitous namecalling. Please try the same.

Primebhoy As we've said before, as the main discussion thread for a specific film spoilers aren't quite the same in here. So it make sense not to read the posts of people who've seen the film if you haven't. Unless you're a Mod, in which case you're kind of stuffed unless we've made someone go see films they don't want to up front


< Message edited by elab49 -- 12/1/2013 1:26:00 AM >


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RE: Les Mis - 12/1/2013 11:10:55 AM   
rich


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Title reset

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RE: Les Mis - 12/1/2013 8:23:21 PM   
AxlReznor

 

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The opening of the movie is a bit all over the place, but it picks up as soon as Anne Hathaway first appears on screen. Every good things that's been said about her performance is absolutely correct. One of the things I've always disliked about stage musicals is that the actors always seem to sing the notes of the song, but they don't actually sing the feelings. They're more concerned with being technically perfect than convincing people that they are actually feeling what the song is about. Not so with this movie, where you can tell the pain the characters are going through just by listening to the soundtrack. And nowhere is this best exemplified than in Anne's astonishing performance of 'I Dreamed A Dream'. I was actually quite disappointed with how little screentime she had, but the other performances from that point on were all strong. A lot of criticism has been leveled at Russell Crowe, but I think it's a side effect of his character just not getting any of the good songs.
I haven't been able to get 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' out of my head since the first time it was sung. And at multiple points I had to struggle to hold back tears... but then, I'm speaking as the person who cried during two Batman movies, so it doesn't take much.

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RE: Les Mis - 12/1/2013 11:22:47 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

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Sadly people clapped at the end of the showing I was at. I am absolutely astounded that people applaud and critics praise what is such an incompetently directed film. It makes me seriously worry about the future of cinema. I'm going to try and do a review tomorrow, but at the moment am still angry to say anymore [and yes, I have seen the stage version].

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RE: Les Mis - 13/1/2013 12:18:50 AM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12192
Joined: 30/9/2005
I loved it. The real standouts for me were Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne () & young Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche.

I didn't really like Jackman's rendition of Bring Him Home though. Colm Wilkinson's version from the play sounded like a desperate man praying to God (it was a real pleasure seeing him as the Priest btw), this sounded off to me (I can't find the words to describe it unfortunately. Throaty? Nasally?).

Nor was I overly keen on Russell Crowe either. Sometimes he seemed fine, and other times I wondered why they chose him.

Anne Hathaway's performance of I Dream a Dream though... wow! If she goes down in history for any film moment then I'd be more than happy for it to be that, it's now THE rendition of 'Dream IMHO.

Great decision by Tom Hooper to get the actors to sing it live on set, I finally felt like I was listening to the real thing.

Definitely one of my favourite musicals, along with Cabaret & South Park.

< Message edited by Hood_Man -- 13/1/2013 12:19:07 AM >

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RE: Les Mis - 13/1/2013 10:10:45 AM   
BelfastBoy

 

Posts: 592
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quote:

ORIGINAL: AxlReznor

The opening of the movie is a bit all over the place, but it picks up as soon as Anne Hathaway first appears on screen. Every good things that's been said about her performance is absolutely correct. One of the things I've always disliked about stage musicals is that the actors always seem to sing the notes of the song, but they don't actually sing the feelings. They're more concerned with being technically perfect than convincing people that they are actually feeling what the song is about. Not so with this movie, where you can tell the pain the characters are going through just by listening to the soundtrack. And nowhere is this best exemplified than in Anne's astonishing performance of 'I Dreamed A Dream'. I was actually quite disappointed with how little screentime she had, but the other performances from that point on were all strong. A lot of criticism has been leveled at Russell Crowe, but I think it's a side effect of his character just not getting any of the good songs.
I haven't been able to get 'Do You Hear The People Sing?' out of my head since the first time it was sung. And at multiple points I had to struggle to hold back tears... but then, I'm speaking as the person who cried during two Batman movies, so it doesn't take much.


You beat me to it, and more eloquently than I'd be able to manage! Where the Les Mis film really scores highly is in the brutally closeup solo song performances, where the performers are totally lost in their characters and (for the audience) life seems to stop for a few minutes at a time. When I read the Empire review I questioned Helen O'Hara's comment that Hathaway's version of I Dreamed A Dream is definitive, but I'm happy to concede that I totally missed the point. When performed on stage, or on Elaine Paige albums etc, the performer is concentrating on delivering a technically proficient vocal for the listener or everyone in the audience. Hathaway's performance wouldn't work on stage, but set in the dramatic context with Fantine physically and emotionally broken, and with the camera right in her face, then she really is astonishing.

Overall, I was blown away by the film. I'm not even going to comment on the plot, because it's wafer thin - is Javert the only vaguely competent policeman in France over a period of several decades? Doesn't he age? What tyranny are Enjolras, Marius etc revolting against in 1832? (France had a revolution in 1830 to eject Charles X, but he was succeeded by 'Citizen King' Louis Philippe, generally a popular monarch until bloodlessly overthrown in 1848.) But none of that matters! I don't do full reviews but here's some impressions:

- In an earlier post I criticised Hugh Jackman's singing on Bring Him Home. Technically, I don't think he has the correct vocal range to play Valjean, but his performance is magnificent. I've never seen him so commanding and physical on screen - I haven't seen Lincoln but Daniel Day Lewis would have to really deliver to be better. Set in context, Jackman really delivers the emotions necessary for a complex but ultimately good character - on Bring It Home, the vibrato ceases to be obnoxious when his face and throat are cracking and straining, for we're watching the character of 'Jean Valjean' singing as if his life depends on it, rather than Hugh Jackman performing.
- I guess the film isn't to everyone's taste. The sung-through nature is occasionally clumsy, and there's a few places (in the stage version too) where a little bit of spoken word dialogue would be forgiveable. I saw the film on Friday afternoon and there wasn't a huge audience there. Of those who stayed until the end, pretty much everyone had been visibly crying, myself included. However, shame on the four people who walked out - especially the couple who departed during Samantha Barks' spinetingling On My Own! That's like leaving a football match during a penalty shootout! Anyone who doesn't shed a tear for the last two scenes of the film - one tragic, the other thrillingly euphoric - truly has a heart of stone.
- I suspect Russell Crowe's take on Javert is that of an almost robotic slave to duty and order. I thought he'd be the weak link but he was better than I thought, to be honest. He's a good singer but theatrical songs aren't really what his voice is suited to. The role requires someone with a big projectable voice. (It's comparable with when Nick Jonas played Marius. I may be in a minority in defending Jonas, for I don't think he was 'bad' as such. His singing voice just wasn't strong enough to compete with the bigger voices in the ensemble. Crowe is the same, just miscast rather than awful.)
- I've never seen Eddie Redmayne before but I was very impressed by him. Aaron Tveit delivered the showier role of Enjolras superbly but, picking up the pieces afterwards, Redmayne's gutwrenching solo Empty Chairs And Empty Tables was great. I know there's a DVD screener of the film out there already but Les Mis really should be seen on a huge screen - huge, unflinching, starkly-lit closeups of the performers' faces really sell the emotions of the story. The Marius-Cosette-Eponine 'love triangle' is somewhat unconvincing, but it seems tacked-on in the stage version too. I've seen Amanda Seyfried criticised in places, but I don't know why. Cosette is simply a minor, pretty passive role, and Seyfried is fine in the scenes she's in. Hopefully the exposure will lead to bigger things for Samantha Barks too - could you imagine Taylor Swift playing Eponine, because apparently that was a genuine possibility at one point?!
- The Thenardiers don't have to be technically spectacular singers, which is just as well as Sacha Baron Cohen (with his occasional Allo Allo-esque French accent) and Helena Bonham-Carter really can't sing! She seems to have walked straight in from Sweeney Todd as well, costume included. The one positive thing I would say is that, in the stage version or concert performances, the Thenardiers can come across as comic relief, but in the film, they do project the correct air of underlying and sinister unpleasantness.

Like I said, Les Mis won't be to everyone's tastes. It deals in big, primary colour emotions, but the musicality is so overwhelmingly powerful that to submit is to open yourself to perhaps the best array of theatrical songs in a single production. The film's final scene is so musically inspiring that the song in question is still in my head a day and half later.

EDIT: A swift bit of Wikipedia-ing reveals that Marius and Enjolras are fictional participants in the genuine 'June Rebellion' of 1832, a short-lived urban uprising. I suspect Victor Hugo's original novel examines the causes and courses of this more completely than the musical and film are able to.

< Message edited by BelfastBoy -- 13/1/2013 10:20:15 AM >

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NO WAY HELEN O HARA THIS IS FIVE STARS! - 13/1/2013 2:38:17 PM   
Bighousewill

 

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Joined: 5/12/2009
Wow is all I can say for this. I always wanted to see Les Mis at the theater and I've been aware of it since I was a kid. When I first saw the trailer for it in the cinema I was so excited. I hardly knew anything about the plot or anything and recently I had to avoid all reviews and news spots and turn the radio off because everyone is talking about it. But now I've seen all I can say is wow Hugh Jackman is just sensationally brilliant. I have never been in a "Cinema" audience where every single person applauds as if they were Theater and they just watched it on stage!

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