Tuesday, August 9, 2016

1004. Les Miserables

Les Miserables
Directed by Tom Hooper

I figured it might get tiring to read rave after rave, so I thought I would tackle a film that I dislike to shake things up.  I have seen Les Mis at the West End and read the book, so I am pretty much an expert.  I actually went to the movies alone to see this film and was the only person in the theater, meaning I could sing along loudly to every song.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think I outdid Russell Crowe.

This is an incredibly long movie based on an incredibly long book, so I won't go into plot specifics.  Basically, Jean Valjean is released after serving 19 years for trying to steal a loaf of bread to save his family from starvation.  His parole status ensures that he cannot find employment, so he steals silver from a kind bishop who had offered him food and shelter.  He starts a new life under a new identity and becomes a wealthy factory owner and the mayor of Montreuil.  After one of his factory workers dies on the street, he adopts her young daughter.

Okay, that description barely skimmed the surface, but I will still stop there out of courtesy to my readers.  I am guessing that the Listmakers included this entry because all the actors performed their singing live on set.  Normally, soundtracks are recorded months before filming and the actors lip-sync.  This is typically done because it sounds way better, but Hooper really wanted to defy convention on that score.  Consequently, there are some fairly cringeworthy moments when the actors sing off key.   Samantha Barks was the only performer who never seemed to screw up, making "On My Own" the most moving number in the film.

On the other hand, you have Anne Hathaway who wanted an Oscar so badly for her performance she was practically salivating.  Hugh Jackman was a disappointment, as I thought his voice would be a bit more powerful since he is trained in theater.  Russell Crowe was shockingly bad, but I ended up thinking Amanda Seyfried's voice was really sweet, even though it apparently makes professional singers cringe.

In the end, it was just way too long and bloated.  Some of the elements that made the stage adaptation so memorable just didn't translate on screen.  Still, I would highly recommend both the book and the stage musical.

Anyone else wonder why Gavroche had a Cockney accent?

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Anne Hathaway has about fifteen minutes of screen time.

Robin Williams, Steve Martin, and Ricky Gervais were all considered for the role of Thernandier.

On My Own:


  1. Ah, Amanda .... a long musical with Russell Crowe, what could there be for not to dislike? But wait .. you are not so keen either ..
    Well, it didn't send me into fits of nausea like 'The Sound of Mouse sick', but it did have me crushingly bored.
    Is it OK to revert to stereotype me and mention that I like the 1934(?) version with Fredric March and Charles Laughton?

  2. Gavroche had a cockey accent because that tends to be the accent of choice when British people adapt musicals and want to portray working class or poverty stricken individuals haha :D
    Gavroche also has cockney accent in the stage version or at least when I saw it.

    Seriously I loved this film though!! It's the only film I've ever seen at the cinema where I let out an audible sob!! At Anne Hathaway...she broke my heart. Although I find her annoying in other roles she really sold it in this. To me it was the perfect adaption of it apart from Crowe. I don't think I'll ever get over the slow murdering of some of my favourite musical songs! Gutted.

    1. None of the songs that Crowe sings were my favorite, so fortunately, I was saved from musical heartbreak. I wonder she didn't get on your nerves this time!