Today's review is of Tom Hooper's Les Mierables. (Sigh. Let's just get this pain over with...)
Image credit to IMDb
WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
Don't get me wrong, I love this musical to death. In fact, I was in a production of it over the summer! It is my favorite musical of all time. But this movie just sucks. The only good aspect is the acting ability of most of the cast. (Note: most.) Also, there are a few good voices, but I'll get to that later.
Les Miserables is the story of a fugitive turned, I dunno, saint? named Jean Valjean, who is constantly being hunted by Inspector Javert. Valjean ends up adopting the daughter of a dead female factory worker turned prostitute, named Fantine. Her daughter, Cosette, lives with the Thenadiers, a couple of unpleasant people with a lust for money. A few years later on, Cosette falls in love with a student named Marius, who is plotting a revolution with his best friend, Enjolras. Eponine, the daughter of the Thenadiers is also in love with Marius, but he doesn't notice. I don't have much to say on the story. I really, genuinely love it. (Well, the love at first sight thing between Cosette and Marius is a bit, you know, cliche.)
The actors in this movie are amazing. (I'm not discussing the singing; that comes later.) The passion with which the actors perform is astounding. Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean has so much power and depth in him, and he portrays Valjean beautifully. The same can't be said for Russel Crowe as Javert. I've been told that he's a good actor, but he just doesn't act. It not that he acted badly, it's that he didn't act at all, However, there is one scene in the "Second Act" where he does show some emotion. Anne Hathaway was amazing as Fantine. She captured that role perfectly. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bohnam Carter are the Thenadiers. As usual, they bring out the crazy, funny characters very well. Cohen does have some good moments where he seems genuinely... evil, as the character is supposed to end up. Amanda Seyfried as Cosette wasn't a bad choice. It's just that the character is so bland, so there's not much to work with, and I think that Seyfried has quite a bit of acting talent. Eddie Redmayne as Marius wasn't a bad option either, he did the role justice. Arron Tveit was a great Enjolras, and Daniel Huttlestone was a great Gavroche. Last, but not least, we have Samantha Barks. She's the only principal in this movie to have played that role before, and she does it beautifully.
The music. I love the music. But that's just a general note about the musical itself. So let me move onto...
The singing! By god, do I loathe the singing. However, I did mention that I liked some of the voices. Those voices belonged to Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche), Arron Tveit (Enjolras), and Samantha Barks (Eponine). They all have fantastic voices; especially Samantha Barks. However, the rest aren't good. Russel Crowe can hold a tune, but his voice doesn't fit with the theater style. Hugh Jackman cracks too much, as does Anne Hathaway. Amanda Seyfried's voice is just annoying, as is the voice of Eddie Redmayne. The ensemble's not bad, but the soloists in the ensemble are slightly cringe worthy. Colm Wilkinson is a sort of saving grace at the beginning as the Bishop of Digne, but they changed quite a few of the lyrics for him, so it sounded wrong.
Actually, that brings up and important point. A lot of the lyrics and songs are changed into speaking or just plain silence. While I think that it's fine in some cases, in others, it lengthens the scene. They cut quite a few of the student solos, which was a blow to my happiness with the movie, since in my production of Les Mis, I played one of the students whose solos they cut.
This movie sucks. Just plain sucks. Even with some redeeming qualities, I wouldn't particularly recommend it. If you really are dying to see Les Miserables, go see a staged production of it.
This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!