My take on…Les Misérables

My take on…Les Misérables

Tom Hooper has directed a very strong adaptation of the stage musical, Les Misérables.

My Significant Other and I saw it today in a crowded theatre. We don’t always both like a movie, but this is a case where we did.

I should point out that neither of us has seen a stage production of it. In fact, my SO pointed out how well this worked as a movie, to the point where we were curious about how it could be done as well in a live theatre.

Part of that is the scope of it. There are many places, painstakingly created (an Art Direction Oscar nomination is virtually unavoidable, and it will be tough to beat). From the gritty streets of 19th Century France (both above and below them), to mannered cottages, to the inside of buildings as varied as a “sweatshop” and a church, it seem inherently cinematic.

Indeed, the acting is much more suited to a movie than a live theatre. There is a lot of subtlety here, even with powerful songs. It seems far more intimate than you would get from the balcony.

The acting is good. We disagreed a bit about the singing (I like Russell Crowe; my SO didn’t like it as much. I thought Hugh Jackman’s voice was a bit weak in places: my SO thought it was perfect). We also debated over whether Hugh Jackman will challenge Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor (I think it is still Day-Lewis’).

Anne Hathaway was astonishing as Fantine, and there wasn’t a substandard performance to be seen (a great tribute to Hooper as director).

We both thought that Samantha Barks was a particular standout as Éponine, although not in a way that unbalanced the movie.

There were also great performances by kids, especially Isabelle Allen as the young Cosette.

Don’t go to this expecting a light and frothy tune-filled romp. This is about a dark time in history, and people suffer. There is violence, although deftly handled so it isn’t excessive.

Honestly, I think will be watching this movie twenty years from now. It’s not perfect, but it is one of the best movies we’ve seen this year. It’s like to garner a number of Oscar nominations (I’d be surprised if it was under 10).

I’m always afraid of building things up too much, and yes, you may find it long. If you are constitutionally unable to accept people singing their thoughts, well, that may make it impossible for you to enjoy it. 🙂 Amanda Seyfried’s voice is so delicate, I doubt it could be heard in the fifth row in a live theatre (although that isn’t necessary here…and you could certainly hear the “family resemblance” to her character’s mother).

Overall, I’d recommend it.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


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