Les Miserables

Posted on January 12th, 2013 in film and tv

Been a long time since I’ve been in a completely full cinema.  Even longer since the audience gave a round of applause at the end (including me).  Even longer than that since I saw Russel Crowe give such a storming performance, nor was he by any means alone in that, plus tight, uncomplicated directing and editing with the guts to hold on the big tear-streaked close-ups so the actors could nail the songs directly to your aching soul.  Big themes, big emotions, big set pieces, great big faces delivering huge songs.

Brilliant stuff.

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  1. Got dragged to London to see the stage show, I was full of protestations and smart remarks. Just an amazing experience.

  2. I agree it was great. Russell Crowe took some guff because he’s obviously not as strong a singer as the other actors, but I thought he pulled it off. It’s just a great story and great musical. It also touches on such great lessons on right and wrong and justice and mercy. Terrific.

  3. Russ-le-Roq he called himself when he was 18-19 and living in Auckland. He and I are the exact same age, and I suffered his singing a couple of times around that era, for my sin of going out with a girl who was into ( as we thought at the time )poser singers.

    He used to walk into various venues with a “puffy” shirt on and pose like he was already famous, which took some self confidence in 1980s Auckland.

    Have to admit he got where he was aiming though.

  4. Hugh Jackman was brilliant.

  5. But was it better than Tinkerbell?

  6. i hate musicals. with a passion. i mean really. actors singing at me when id rather just have them speak and not take me out of the story. is it even worth me giving it a go? did i say how much i LOATHE musicals? i think ill go see Django Unchained…

  7. I’m not a big fan of musicals either, and there were parts in the movie where they sing-song normal dialogue that kind of annoyed me. However, the actual songs were fantastic and acting was one of the best ensemble performances in awhile.

    Worth seeing for sure.

  8. Dan Halen,
    Can’t say I’m generally a massive fan of musicals, but much like Michael I was blown away by the stage version of this years ago, and the film adds another dimension.

    Bladder,
    Yeah, some of the sung dialogue was a bit weird, especially to begin with. I was expecting it to be more the spoken lines with occasional bursts into song, but in the end I think it worked. It’s such an unusual thing to see in the cinema these days, but they did a great job of updating the format, I think.

    Chad,
    Crowe certainly ain’t in Jackman’s league as a singer, and had this been a stage version it would’ve been a problem, but with the intimacy of the performances it didn’t seem to be a big issue.

  9. I though it was great. Jackman’s ability to sing impressed.

    I also find myself saying, “I am Jean ValJean,” at random times throughout the day…

  10. I was exposed to these songs around 1988 or 89. So I’ve been humming and singing these tunes off and on for 25 years. Ive seen the broadway show four times over the years so the bar was set high. I liked the movie but I thought some songs could have been done much better. Specifically “being him home.” For me that’s the most emotional song in the show. In the theatre there had been a father/son sense growing between Val jean and Marius by the time the song came. To add to it Val jean stands over Marius while he sings it. You can feel is heart break for his “son” and his desire to trade his life for Marius’. I did not feel that in the movie. He was in a building while Marius was outside, until the end of the song. They didn’t have that bond yet. It just didn’t feel as powerful. To me anyway. Some other small complaints but overall it was very good.

  11. Am I the only one who thought that Sasha Baron Cohen reminded me of Nicomo Cosca?? Was probably just the dirty old military uniform.

  12. I was completely unfamiliar with the play. It took a minute for me to get comfortable with the singing and sung dialogue, but once I did I was riveted. Even though it was quite long I can’t wait to see it again. I’ve never been a huge Jackman fan but this movie sold me. He (along with the rest of the cast) was brilliant!

  13. I am just glad that somene else liked Russell Crowe’s performance. I’ve had to explain that Javert is not evil because people kept saying he wasn’t playing it ‘cruelly enough’.

    He is a tortured guy with OCD and magical thinking “If I catch this one guy then all will be well”. Not an evil person. Justice without mercy. If he is evil to anyone it is to himself really. I felt the movie fleshed out Javert nicely. They even said that they were trying to add more of the book.

    Crowe could have easily played a grim, frozen, fiendish Javert. That sort of character is firmly in his wheelhouse. So come on, what is wrong with a nuanced performance? Nothing!

  14. I’d have been with a few of you in the ‘not into musicals’ camp up until last year when I saw Sondheim’s ‘Company’ in Sheffield. I was totally blown away. It’s a musical about a single 30 something who’s thinking about settling down and his relationship with his coupled up friends. It was like someone had made a musical of my life. And then added a load of sexy women because they’re sadly lacking in the current draft.

    It was sharp, witty, mature, bittersweet, utterly unsentimental but very moving at times and said something about life and love that you couldn’t have conveyed in any other art form. I still don’t regard myself as being into musicals but I’m prepared to give them a hearing now. Sondheim is a bit of a genius. The grown-up counterpoint to a lot of West End fluff. Worth checking out if you see one on.

  15. Happy to see that you enjoyed this as much as I did. Took my sister the day after Christmas. It’s been more than a month since I’ve been on your page, getting all caught up now on my new Note II..

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