My Review of Les Miserables (Spoilers!)
Oh my goodness! This film was simply amazing. From the moment it starts to the moment it ended I was practically in tears. Overall I would say that I do not have any major complaints. It seems as if there were a few word changes in the songs and a few things left out. The most striking one I remember is the little dialogue prior to /On My Own/ was left out, as well as the small dialogue before /A Little Fall of Rain/. I was a bit disappointed by that at first but it really was not terrible. It does not change the storyline and I believe I can live without it :) Also there was a bit of a discrepancy with the song /A Little Fall of Rain/ in that the whole letter to Cossette situation was actually handled by Gavroche and not Eponine. After some serious consideration and I really do mean serious, I think it was a good choice. The best? I'm not saying that but all directors make changes and such. I liked this choice because it shows just how heartbroken she was over Marius and therefore she held the letter back. But she couldn't die without giving it to him because she loved him too much <333 Yes, others can/will/have other opinions and/or explanations but that's okay. I respect all other places. Other than that the film, in my opinion, was flawless. The acting was superb and I enjoyed every second of it. I cried from beginning to end, seriously. The film is beautifully done and the scenery, though sometimes grim, was fantastic. Now I will give a more in-depth analysis/discussion of the characters/casting and the songs.
Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean - Jackman is a fantastic actor and singer (hence the Tony Award) and his performance was amazing. I've heard many people say that he didn't do a good job with the large ballads because he did it in more of a sing-talk way but (I'll say it for him and everyone else) it was an artistic choice he made and I think it was a good one. If you really think about it, in real life would Valjean have the emotional strength to be so powerful in every song? I think not. Jackman's performance was so strong and moving. Not to mention his physical transformation was insane, for lack of a better word.
Anne Hathaway as Fantine - I know a lot of people were really excited about Hathaway in this role but I wasn't too excited. Don't get me wrong, she is a fantastic actress and I knew she had some musical theatre background but I just wasn't overjoyed at the choice of her as Fantine. However, I am happy to say I was wrong. She did such a fantastic job and brought depth to the character as I had never seen before. And then her rendition of /I Dreamed a Dream/ was just breathtaking. A lot of people complained about it, it wasn't the regular strong ballad at all points but again; remember where the character is coming from: a place of hurt and betrayal. Overall, she did a fabulous job.
Amanda Seyfried as Cossette - Without a doubt I knew Seyfried had the looks to pull off Cossette but I had never heard her sing so I wasn't sure how that would go. Yet once again, I am happy to say, I was shown just how much talent she has. Her voice is very beautiful and her acting fit her character to a T. I can't complain.
Russell Crowe as Javert - Of all the cast members this one was the one I was most.... curious about. I wasn't sure he could handle Javert because I didn't know if he could sing and even if he could sing would it be enough to handle Javert's part. Yet Crowe blew me away. No, he will not be winning a Grammy any time soon but his voice was cold and calculating and raw just what Javert is like and what his voice should sound like, at least in my opinion. Perhaps not the most trained singer but definitely one who used his voice to the advantage of his character.
Eddie Redmayne as Marius - This was the casting/character I was most excited for. I have always adored Redmayne and the moment I found out he was cast as Marius I was elated. He was youthful and in love yet fully aware of his surroundings, knowing he was not from the same world as the rest of the revolutionaries. His acting was fantastic and so was his singing. Honestly, in my opinion, the best casting choice of the film. I never really cared for Marius, I don't know it was just something about him yet Redmayne made me love him. He made the character really come alive for me. I can truly say I will never be able to listen to/watch Nick Jonas play Marius again. Redmayne puts Jonas to shame. Hands down.
Samantha Barks as Eponine - If you know anything about Les Mis in theatre you'll know her name. I remember when there were rumors floating around about the part of Eponine there were names like Taylor Swift and Lea Michele and of course Barks. Well, I knew if Swift got the part I was going to boycott the film. Swift does not have the acting or singing chops to take on a part as complex as Eponine. At first I wanted Lea Michele but I was torn between Barks as well. However, I'm glad they gave it to barks because Lea Michele is too commercial. I know she started on Broadway and even in Les Mis but what people don't understand is that the musical stage is not and cannot be the same as a musical film. Michele is too commercial because of Glee and for such a grand film you needed big names mixed with well-trained actors/singers. Barks's rendition of /On My Own/ was hauntingly beautiful; I cried. And I was also glad they made it clear she was daughter of the Thenardier's and how much she loved Marius. <333
Aaron Tveit as Enjorlas - Enjorlas is my favorite character in Les Mis and I was very curious and critical about whom they were going to cast here. I know Tveit is a Broadway man and he's done TV but I wasn't sure if his voice could hold up Enjorlas's strong songs. Glad to say he most definitely could. Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I loved Ramin Karimloo as Enjorlas and so I didn't know if I would be able to love anyone else in the part but my heart grew to love two people as Enjorlas. He captured the fire and passion of the character very well. I have no complaints with his portrayal. He died, yes, but he died in the most noble and brave way. Like a true rebel.
Other characters - The whole cast was excellent. From the priest to the ABC friends to the Thenardiers to little Cossette and, of course, Gavroche. Gavroche was such a cutie and when he died my heart broke </3 Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were fantastic in their parts! They brought comedy to another wise, very serious film. I really have no complaints about any of the casting.
So my favorite character in this adaptation are Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Aaron Tveit as Enjorlas.
I won't go through every single song I'll just give you my overall impressions and talk about a few of my favorites. I loved the way Hooper decided to have the actors sing. I know it makes for a very different experience for the listener, but that's why I love it. It's never been done before and it brings the rawness and reality to each number. For instance, in /A Heart Full of Love/ Redmayne/Marius's voice cracks and you would never be able to get that in a studio version. It makes the characters more real and adds a world of emotion to the songs.
Master of the House - Normally I do not care for this song but the way it was handled by Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter was amazing. I wouldn't say it's my favorite number from the film but it is the most comedic and I enjoy that. There's so much going on and the lyrics are hilarious.
On My Own - Amazing. That's all that needs to be said of Ms. Bark’s version. I love how she starts it off very gentle and it slowly builds, not with anger, but with sadness and tears. Truly moving. If you don't cry at this number you'll probably cry at nothing.
Do You Hear the People Sing - I have always loved this song. I listen to it in both English and French and the words are just so powerful. Aaron Tveit did a wonderful job in bringing the anger and determination to the song and the rest of the ABC friends were amazing! I didn't think they were going to be as wonderful as they were. Normally, if I'm not mistaken, this song comes after the ABC Cafe/Red and Black but it didn't in the film and I was worried that they left it out. But then I thought, no they can't because it's one of the most well-known songs from the musical. Obviously they did not leave it out; they just moved it a bit further down in the film. And I actually liked their placement. It was very appropriate.
One Day More - <333 I love this song. Seriously, it is so powerful and amazing and just yes. This version was fantastic. That's all I have to say :)
Empty Chairs and Empty Tables - I never cared for this song in other version of Les Mis, but Eddie Redmayne's version was so beautiful. He's sitting where his ABC friends used to meet after they all had fallen and he's sitting there, himself injured, in a room of broken glass singing full of hurt and confusion and anger. This version showed me how beautiful this song really is. Really though, it brought tears to my eyes and I mean a constant flow of tears not just one or two. I don't think I can really describe how moving this song is. You must see it for yourself.
Without a doubt /Empty Chairs and Empty Tables/ was my favorite song from the film <3333
5 stars (*****), A, two thumbs up! Whatever will get you to go see this film! I highly recommend it. You cannot get the full emotional depth from just reading this pathetic review. You must see it and experience it for yourself. I'd be happy to answer any questions people have, just message me!