I meant to write this about a month ago, but as it’s my life, I tend to get distracted and caught up in school work and the like (especially when I’m student teaching every day for 12 weeks).
But I digress.
On New Year’s Day, I went to see Les Miserables. It was the first time in a year that I’d actually gone to a movie theatre and watched a movie. I was both excited and a little skeptical about watching the movie version of Les Miz, the main reason being that I saw the stage production the year before and absolutely loved it. Seeing the new movie had everything to do with both my excitement and nervousness. Excitement because I wanted to see the new interpretation of the musical and hear the beautiful music that saturates the story to its core, but also tainted with nervousness because I was afraid that it was going to be mucked up.
It was everything and nothing as I expected. The emotional deliverance that the actors put forth into the movies was phenomenal. While I thought certain actors could’ve had more desperation and voice into their songs (namely Anne Hathaway on I Dreamed a Dream), I found their performance to be heart-wrenching, even to the point of bringing tears to my eyes. Even the singing got better as the movie went on. By the end of the movie, the singers seemed to have found their inner voice, bringing up from the depths of their soul and pulsating it in a river of baritones, tenors, sopranos, and altos.
I thought the choices for actors were superb. A couple of them weren’t who I would’ve expected to have been chosen for the points, but they played their parts well. Sacha Baren Cohen, Hugh Jackman, and Russell Crowe were especially apt at their parts. I was surprised to see Russell Crowe in a musical, to be completely honest. For one, I didn’t know he could sing, for second, he seemed to play characters that were so dark and singular in their thinking (but what do I know, I’m not a particular Russell Crowe fan).
I especially loved Aaron Tveit as Enjolas and Samantha Barks as Eponine. They seemed to know how to get inside those characters and make them theirs. Even the boy who played Gavroche and Marius had it down to the T. Enjolas kept distracting me tho, because the actor looked so much like Heath Ledger. I almost thought he came back from the dead until I realized that it wasn’t him. But I swear the man could be his twin. Or at least a younger brother or son.
I’m not much of an Amanda Seyfried fan, but she played the roll of a blue eyed, blonde haired beauty just perfectly. And she had a lovely voice. I suppose the image of blonde hair, blue eyed angels that capture the lead male’s attention will always be in our culture, even if I don’t like it. You don’t need to be blonde to be beautiful.
I was a little disappointed in Anne Hathaway. The music that Fantine sings is supposed to belted out. I Dreamed a Dream, especially, is a song that’s supposed to be carried out with a strong presence, but Hathaway couldn’t quite get there with that song. What she didn’t get in voice, she did capture in her facial emotion, so she was saved in that respect.
Overall, I say that this movie deserves an A. It was beautifully directed and the actors were in character. The singing was a slow start, but it managed to reach its full potential by the end. While it’s never going to be as good as the stage production, it’s a movie that is definitely worth the time to go see.