Yesterday I finally saw the film and all I can say is: AMAZING! From the very first notes of the prologue since the end of the film I was so focused, I didn't want to miss a second of it. Now, all I can think about is that I have to see it again!
It's past midnight here, so I'll just write my analysis of the main characters and save the rest for another time :)
Jean Valjean: Hugh Jackman was great, and, even though I imagined Valjean having a totally different voice, I really liked him. My favourite parts were his interactions with Javert and Marius.
Javert: Russell Crowe was utterly amazing!!! I'm not a fan of him (I'm probably the only person on Earth who disliked him both in Gladiator and Robin Hood) and I was so skeptical about his performance, but his portrayal of Javert was just perfect: he may not be the best singer in the film, but his acting was superb and I love the way he was able to convey both Javert's human side and his strong sense of duty and authority. Javert is not evil, he's not a monster and he's not stupid; he was born in prison and had to struggle all his life to get to his position, always thinking that only following the law a man can raise himself. When he first meets Valjean, the latter is already a convict: Javert doen't know his story and probably thinks all those convicts are the same, men that committed crimes trying to find an "easy way", incapable of his self-abnegation and, because of that, he despises him. In my opinion, Crowe was AMAZING!
Fantine: if Anne Hathaway doesn't win an Oscar for this, I don't know what an actress is supposed to do to win one. She had all the people in the cinema in tears, and, during "I dreamed a dream", I really regretted not having any tissues (I left home in a hurry because I was so worried to be late - plus there was a terrible rainstorm - and I forgot them in another bag ...).
Cosette: when I first read the book, I immediately pictured Cosette like Amanda Seyfried, so you can imagine how happy I was when I found out that she was actually going to play Cosette in the film (the same thing had already happened to me with Keira Knightley and "Pride and Prejudice"). I really enjoyed her performance and, even if I still prefer Cosette in the book, I think she added so much depth to the character.
Eponine: well, I already loved Samantha Barks from the 25th anniversary concert and I had no doubts about her. She did a fantastic job, and I really appreciate the fact that they changed the "letter part" and made it like it is in the book - it is even more heartbreaking ... just like the part when she screams and ruins her father's plans, and Marius doesn't even notice it because he's already gone.
Marius: when it come to Marius, I always find myself torn between my deep dislike for the character and the admiration for the singer/actor who plays his role. It happened to me with Michael Ball, Gareth Gates and Fra Fee too. That said, Eddie Redmayne was fantastic, and his portrayal of Marius is the best I can imagine.
Enjolras: some polyfriends know how worried I was about Aaron Tveit playing Enjolras.
When I first read that he was cast for the role, I thought something like "why didn't they pick David Thaxton or Killian Donnelly instead? They would've been perfect!", but I also have to say that, back then, I'd never heard Aaron singing (while the other two were - with Ramin Karimloo - my favourite actors/singers in that role).
Now, I can say that I had no reason at all to be worried, because Aaron Tveit was absolutely fantastic. Like Javert, Enjolras is such a complex character, but I think that Aaron's portrayal was very accurate and true to Hugo's Saint Just-like revolutionary.
About his death scene, once again, I'm so happy that they kept it as it is in the book - as it shoud be.
Grantaire: one of my major complaints about the film is the fact that they cut Grantaire's final lines in "Drink with me". Seriously, why? I could have understood it if they had decided to stay true to the book (where Grantaire is drunk and asleep inside the café), but no, Grantaire is there, awake, he even sings those that should be Feuilly's lines ... The only reason that I can find is that - as they decided to recreate the said death scene following the book - they didn't want to make Grantaire's devotion towards Enjolras too evident. In this perspective, I can agree with this choice, but I still miss those lines of the song ...
Talking about George Blagden, I have to say that I liked him, a lot (did you know that he first auditioned for the role of Marius?): not only he has a great voice, but, without speaking much, he was able to make the public immediately sympathetic towards him. When he looks at Enjolras, knowing that he has already failed him so many times, he has "in his eyes all the sadness of the world" (yes, I love quoting the Phantom randomly), but, at the end, he is finally able to show him how much he cares about him - if not about the revolution.
Just one thing - because I can't help being hypercritical - : Hugo clearly says that Grantaire looks ugly ... why all the characters meant to be ugly in the books always turn "not-ugly-at-all-but-with-messy-hair-and-clothes" in the films? Not that this is one of my major complaints, however.
Combeferre: finally my favourite character, Combeferre, "the guide and the philosopher", played by the gorgeous Killian Donnelly.
Is there a role that this guy can't sing? In the 25th anniversary concert he was Courfeyrac, in London he played Enjolras, and I also found out some recordings of him playing both Valjean and Javert (probably as an emergency cover, or understudy, I don't know), and every single time he was perfect. Sadly, Combeferre doesn't get much space in the film, but if you watch all the café/funeral/barricade scenes looking for him (and I did it), you'll always find him doing something that you really imagine Combeferre would do. I love the scene when, despite his calm and gentle nature, he gets angry with Marius and yells at him: "What were you thinking, Marius? You could gotten us all killed! My life is not yours to risk, Marius!" - he is willing to give his life for the revolution, but not in a stupid way.
I also love the fact that he is the first one who gets worried for Gavroche when he goes over the barricade; Courfeyrac only notices it just the moment before the poor child gets shot - that scene is heartbreaking. And Killian Donnelly is amazing.
Courfeyrac: another great character, even if he only appears as a secondary one in the film. I think Fra Fee was a good choice: he is very different from Tveit and Donnelly, so you don't risk to mistake one of them for another, and he looks so youthful and caring - when he cries desperately after the death of Gavroche, hugging Combeferre, was, as I said before, hearthbreaking.
Gavroche: Daniel Huttlestone was a great Gavroche, that's all I can say.