Friday, December 28, 2012

Les Miserables et Les Horibbles

So here's something I do want to blog about: the new movie of Les Miserbles.  Has anyone seen it yet? 

It's excellent.  I loved it!  I have a kind of personal stake in it being done well because in high school, as part of my school choir, I performed it.  Not the full play, just the music numbers.  While we were learning it, as a surprise, my father took my brother and I (who also sang in the choir's production) to see Les Mis at the Ford Theater, in Detroit. It was so awesome, seeing the musical on stage and getting a real feel for what the songs meant as we learned them at school. 

I never got to see the musical on stage again.  But when the movie version came out a few years ago, I wanted to love it.  And it was OK.  But it just wasn't right without the music.  So when the musical as a movie version was announced, I couldn't wait to see my beloved Les Mis on the big screen!

And, as I said, it was fantastic.  Mostly.  Hugh Jackman as Valjean was brilliant.  Brilliant acting, brilliant singing.  Absolutely embodied the character.  Have I mentioned that he was brilliant??  Samantha Barks, as Eponine, was amazing.  Her voice is so heavenly.  Her waist is so tiny!  She was perfect for the role.  Sasha Baron Cohen was born to be Thenardier.  Slimy, detestable, clever, and funny.  And his singing never distracted from his performance.  Those three were the best, for sure.

Honorable mention goes to Marius, who was a bit strange looking, but who had a wonderful voice.  If only his vibrato didn't make his whole head shake like he had Parkinson's!  And both Helena Bonham-Carter and Anne Hathaway did great job in their acting and adequately in their singing. 

But then there's Russel Crowe.  True, I've never been a Russel Crowe fan.  And that's putting it mildly. But I went into this movie with a totally open mind because I love the play so much. I was willing to completely revise my opinion of him if he did Javert justice.  But alas, there was no justice for Javert.  There was only betrayal.  Crowe's voice was OK.  I mean, it lacks some skill, but the tone is rich and pleasing.  It was his ACTING that was the problem.  FLAT.  His expression was flat in every scene.   Look at Hugh Jackman--in one scene you can see his face express 20 different emotions.  He uses his eyes, his eyebrows, his mouth, his cheeks, his head, his shoulders...all of them change the nuances of what his character is feeling.  Russel Crowe?  His expression changes between irritated and annoyed the entire movie.  He never quite reaches angry, fierce, passionate, brutal, or driven--all the things you'd expect from Javert.   There's just this sort of half dazed, half mad look on his face in every scene.  Such a disappointment!

And Amanda Seyfried...why oh why did they give that part to her???  There's NO ONE in Hollywood under age 30 that can sing better than her?!?  REALLY?  I find that so hard to believe.  And yet they chose her.  She looks the part.  Her acting is fine.  But her voice--that hummingbird vibrato that sounds like Woody Woodpecker on speed!  It brought to mind the Lollipop Kids from Munchkin Land more than a love-sick Parisienne.  Such a pity!!!

Anyway, despite those two, the movie was excellent.  It was all I could do not to sing along with the movie, but I guess everyone else around me was too chicken cause no one else was singing.  Not even Big Daddy, who just happens to be as big a fan of Les Mis as me.  So I kept it all inside.  And now I'm paying for it.  Javert, Valjean, and Fontine are in my head in the morning, in the shower, when I'm trying to nap, when I'm cooking dinner, and most especially when I'm trying to sleep at night.  I love that score, but, sacre bleu, I'm getting tired of it fast!

What did you think of the movie?


Mrs. O said...

I hated Cosette's voice. oneofJavert's songs was pretty good, but his acting was terrible. I loved the adaptation - brilliant. And Eponine's voice.

Bjorge Queen said...

Honestly I liked it up to the point of "9 years later" and thought it was pretty painful after that. It would have helped if I could have checked the time or looked at imdb to see what I was in for or played a game of WWF (and get my butt kicked btw) but god forbid that I should "distract" the other patrons. So I just sat and waited. And waited. And waited.
I found it nearly unbearable.
It was 23 minutes short of a three hour block and last time I went to one of those (a baby blessing) I at least got to play with my phone, so I guess that means I'd choose church.

FairyGrandmother said...

I saw it, loved it, and cried a bucket full. Perhaps I'm just too easy to please, but I loved everyone in it. The fact that the singing was not dubbed, but worked right into the acting made it much more passionate for me.

I saw it with an innocent teenager who has never suffered debilitating grief in her life, and who did not shed a tear during the movie. I wondered if it takes previous suffering in the life of the watcher to deeply empathize with the sufferings of the characters.