Les Misérables: So, what did you think?

KirbyCat
Broadway Legend
joined:4/23/08
I know there are countless threads on the Les Miz movie right now, but I don't see any official spot where people have started to chat it up in terms of what they thought post-opening.
I just saw a 10 PM showing of it, and it honestly took my breath away. I can't post my thoughts just yet, because I'm still kind of recovering... that said, I absolutely adored it. Beyond moving, and beyond gorgeous.

Also, a highlight of the film for me was "Master of the House." Absolutely hysterical. Sacha and Helena freaking killed it.

I'll be back to see it again within the next two days.
TheatreDiva90016
Broadway Legend
joined:4/10/04
"I know there are countless threads on the Les Miz movie right now..."


So let me start another one!
"TheatreDiva90016 - another good reason to frequent these boards less."<<>> “I hesitate to give this line of discussion the validation it so desperately craves by perpetuating it, but the light from logic is getting further and further away with your every successive post.” <<>> -whatever2
JP2
Broadway Legend
joined:6/2/07
When I saw it last week I had the same experience as you in that I couldn't put it into words for a while.

I found it astonishing. Honestly, everything that the few detractors have complained about, I find absolutely compelling. The editing, the camera work, etc.

Eddie Redmayne, Anne Hathaway, and Hugh Jackman deserve every praise, nomination, and award they (should) receive.

My only minor complaint is Seyfried, but being Cosette, she's hardly there anyway.

Cannot wait to see it again.
ChanceEncounter
Stand-by
joined:7/7/12
The direction completely stunted the emotionality of it. Every solo being shot in extreme close up became dull and respective quickly and distracted from the songs. The performances were fine (I unlike a lot of people enjoyed Crowe's Javert) but I was severely underwhelmed by the film as a whole.
Rainbowhigh23
Broadway Legend
joined:3/29/12
I'm still processing what I saw, it was simply stunning. Not a dull moment or weak link. The Bishop at the end during Finale had me crying.

I saw it in Imax and it truly is an experience.
My Oh My
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/07
I'm finding interesting parallels in opinions about the original stage production and the film in the area of direction.

Not many, but some people over the years have said how unimaginative they thought John Caird's and Trevor Nunn's taking a character, giving them the stage, and letting them own it for their big moment with little to no visuals and minimal blocking, was. And some would say it was a bore to see one person up there emoting for 3-4 minutes.

Now, with the film, people, not many, but some think Hooper's zooming into a character's face, essentially letting them own the film for their big moments, is also a bore.

My question is, is it a bore as in, there are no zipping camera movements and variety? No flashiness and eye candy? If that's the case, then I've always thought that to be the opinion of people who don't care much about the story and are there to be distracted for nearly 3 hours into skimming off the surface a story fed to them via simplistic cues. These are the people who just want to go and cry for three hours.

If that isn't the case, is there something about that technique of giving the character their moment that is somehow at fault? If so, why?

I've always found Caird's and Nunn's clearing the stage, making time stop, and handing it over to a character as a platform to elaborate about their internal situation to be absolutely brilliant and incredibly effective. It doesn't stop the story, it's like an elaboration of a detail connected to the bigger events before us, so by the time we reach that finale, we are acquainted with each character's inner conflict as well as the bigger picture, and that's why I personally feel swept away by it. I never cry from sadness. It's always from the uplift with this musical, which is why the finale is has me in a puddle of my own tears! And I leave the theatre inspired, motivated, and happy.

I will never understand why some people leave sad and in sorrow for Valjean's tragic death, LOL.

And I'm equally perplexed by the focus on the story at large and each character's internal story being said by some to be a terrible approach.
Recreation of original John Cameron orchestration to "On My Own" by yours truly. Click player below to hear.
CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Excuse me Kirby Cat-did we see the same movie?--Master of the House was a complete mess-there was nothing hysterical about it.The camera was on a roler coster trying to be oh so clever catching every bit of slight of hand/pick pocket-Artful Dodger stuff and that revolting making mince out of a wooden leg-as if, that you weren't even aware of that show stopping song that demanded a reprise on stage.Don't get me started on Russell,Amanda,Samantha,Helena-with so many to choose from-this is the best they could get??Even Hugh had a tough time and only Aron and Eddie and of course Colm made me sit up and take a real interest.Closed my eyes for all the close ups and the CD is DEFINATELY not on my Christmas list.
Johnnycantdecide
Featured Actor
joined:6/1/11
Chock seems to be under the delusion that we all have to share their opinion....
Ghostfan2
Understudy
joined:6/22/12
I thought the movie was amazing. Eponine and Fantines death made me cry. The part with Santa Claus made me laugh. I had no issues with Russel Crowe. I thought Ann Hathaway was perfect for the role of Fantine. The battle scenes were a little boring, but I sat through it. I think I might want to see it again!
steven22
Broadway Legend
joined:5/19/06
The movie was excellent...my only problem was the zooming in on the character during their solo i.e. Anne during I Dreamed a Dream...Sam Barks and Aaron Tveit were standouts...Eddie Redmayne was also excellent!
GatorNY
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/08
I loved it. I thought it was perfect.
"The price of love is loss, but still we pay; We love anyway."
RippedMan
Broadway Legend
joined:8/14/05
If you remember, Sweeny Todd was shot in the same way - with closeups for all the solos - and it did not work in that film. I just don't think most directors know how to make a movie musical these days. They get scared that the audience is going to wonder why they're singing so they just shoot an extreme close-up. Dumb choice. Look at all the great Disney musicals. They're shot so well and so well thought-out.
PapaGe
Understudy
joined:6/11/12
I thought it was a mess. Anne Hathaway deserves the Oscar and Eddie Redmayne probably deserves a nomination, but Crowe was an embarrassment and Jackman was very weak. Samantha Barks was as good as I expected, Aaron Tveit a little less so. Gavroche was great.

There were too many weird cuts in weird places (I understand the need to trim for the film, but this did not feel organic), awkward orchestrations in their attempt to match the music to the "singing" after the fact, and weird lyric changes that erased rhymes ("Come in sir for you are weary/and the night is cold out here/though our lives are very humble/what we have we have to..." sheer? Also, "Come on ladies, settle down/I am the mayor of this town/I run a business of repute" ruined the scansion of that part). There were some stunning scenes, but much of the filming felt amateur--not every song needs to be a three-minute close up, Mr. Hooper. The sound mixing was not great. The new song was boring. Of course it managed to wring tears out of me, but much of the movie felt flat (as did some of the singing).

I've been avidly following this movie ever since the 25th Anniversary showing announced that it was forthcoming, and I was fully prepared to be blown away. Even after I was unhappy about some of the casting I tried to keep an open mind. I went to see it today hoping that the musical I knew so well had been immortalized in a film I would like to see again and again. That was not the case. I would have liked to have shoved Javert into that river thirty seconds into "Javert's Suicide". Oh, well. Time to go rewatch the anniversary concerts.
ljay889
Broadway Legend
joined:8/4/04
If you remember, Sweeny Todd was shot in the same way - with closeups for all the solos - and it did not work in that film.

Well Sweeney did get far better reviews than Les Mis. And with all choral numbers cut, solo vocals were really the only parts of the score left. Aside from two or three people singing together in an occasional duet or trio.
#sadandtransparent
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
I'm spending Christmas watching FLOWER DRUM SONG and FINIAN'S RAINBOW. Can't miss. Merry, merry, everyone!


Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
Updated On: 12/25/12 at 03:49 PM
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Not bad. Not amazing, either, and I'm mixed on Hooper's direction, but I think the staging of the "Do You Hear the People Sing?" reprise did a lot of good work so I ended up walking out of the theater fairly satisfied.
PB ENT.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/11/03
Say Hello to this Year's Oscars "Best Actor/Best Actor/Best Film" Nominations. Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Les Miserables!
For me...the wait is over! Saw this epic at 10am.

Quick review: Overall totally wonderful production! Will everyone agree? Probably not...but this one has WINNER written all over it, IMO.

Probably one of the best musical movies I've ever seen. True to the book. Leads were all excellent, made the roles their own portraying each iconic role extremely well. Hugh Jackman (Valjean) Ann Hathaway (Fantine) are a shoe- in for Oscar noms. Russell Crowe (Javert) very effective but needed to show more anger in his pursuit of 24601. Gavroche was very well cast! Thenardies were perfectly matched with a fresh gritty wit. Aaron Tveit's Enjolras was rivetting while Eddie Redmayne's Maruis was not as impressive, other than his great singing voice.

Vocally: This are NOT an all "classically trained Broadway voices" to my knowledge. So one needs to go in not expecting to hear a Craig Schulman, Terrance Mann,Judy Kuhn.

But the whole cast moves the story line through their songs. Never feels like staged solos, even Fantine's money song stayed in character,but filled the screen! Standout songs "I Dreamed a Dream" and” On My Own" being the biggest heart breakers. Jackman's "Bring Him Home” was heartfelt but he appeares to use every vocal trick to push out the song. Crowe's "Stars" was poignant as was his acting throughout but lacked any vocal WOW factor. (Insp. Javert rarely shows much emotion, and Crowe followed suit with this character). What fun to see Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop. His love if being part of this shines in his face.

Samantha Barks (Eponine) vocally, emotionally perfect and rose to the top . Amanda S.(Cossett) sweet but thin voice reminded me of Minnie Mouse a bit too much.

Cinematography and Direction: Simply brilliant! From the massive city scenes, the sewer, the street people, to the gritty Inn and the clever logistics of the barricade scenes. Yes, it was an "in your face" of many solo vocals, but I think this is just what they(actors/director) were aiming for and hit their target. One unfixable fault...Valjean never ages much more than a little "Grecian formual" run through hair.

If you didn't get a lump in your throat through the heartbreaking songs from Fantine & Eponine, Jackman's dying scene will do you in! The One Day More ending scene is well done and leaves you totally satisfied.

Pati Buehler - BWW "Philly" writer



www.pbentertainmentinc.com BWW regional writer "Philadelphia/South Jersey"
Updated On: 12/25/12 at 05:11 PM
sabrelady
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/03
I'd rate it about 85 out of 100.
Yes 2 much closeup work. I wondered if that was cos it was easier to remove the earpieces in that format than from a medium shot?

Jackman ( whom I love & adore) did sound a bit nasal 2 @ times and Bring Him Home was definitely strained @ points.

Master of the House was trying too hard. Tho SBC came off a bit better than HBC.

Banks was good. I knew of her work but was really taken w her in this.

Hathaway was simply harrowing in some of her scenes in I Dreamed a Dream not to mention vocally nailing it. Nomination & probably a win.

Crowe was definitely the weakest -he was never off key or screeching just not particularly moving. ( xcept 4 Confrontation w Jackman) as an actor he was really weak in Javert's Suicide.

All that being said - still enjoyed it and would even go again.


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qolbinau
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/08
I loved the movie and I feel that if I was a fan of the musical there isn't much more I would ask for. I can't wait to see it again. I agree with Tom Hooper who (I think) said in a Q&A that there is no one else in the world who could play Hugh Jackman's role. An A-list actor who is both a great actor and a good singer, it was a great fit and I hope he is nominated for an Oscar. The one real weakness in casting for me was that Russel Crowe just wasn't very threatening. He kind of looked and sounded like an aged bunny rabbit.

But at the end of the day, I think the writing (of the musical) limited the film. I thought there was often very obvious rhymes, boring recitative singing and just general cringeworthyness. ("Suddenly you're here, suddenly it starts, can two anxious hearts beat as one..."the world seems a different place, full of grace")...does anyone really like that kind of fluffy disney language? I cringed so hard when Hugh Jackman's character was singing in that trio about how he knew he couldn't keep Cosette for himself forever. Urgh. Could it get any more cliché?

Sweeney Todd was intensely more thrilling and moving if only because of Sondheim's wonderful music and lyrics.









Updated On: 12/25/12 at 05:32 PM
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
SWEENEY could have been an amazing film if onlyit featured actors that could sing and had a director that trusted the material. I'll never understand the love for that film since I think it's beyond disrespectful to the source material.
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Les Mis?rables: So, what did you think?
Posted: 12/25/12 at 06:10pm
Sadly, Jordan, it's one of my favorites of the modern movie musical era because at least it doesn't futz around pretending to be anything but a musical from the start. Les Mis does the same, thankfully, with none of that po-mo winking "trala we know singing is soooo implausible" crap. But where Sweeney may have hacked and slashed too much (and definitely suffered from vocally inadequate leads), Les Mis might have been too respectful of the musical's score. Cutting more might have given the remaining songs some room to breathe.
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
To summarize, I thought it was very well done ... and WAY TOO LONG. The film only pointed out what I felt about the stage show when I first saw the OBC. The story, after Fantine meets her fate, slows down to a crawl. There are too many introspective ballads where nothing happens (on stage or screen). Every major character has one (or two or three). I would have used the opportunity in adapting it for the screen to trim about 40 minutes out of it. Cut a verse (at least) from several of the numbers.

Aside from calling out the inherent faults of the stage show, I thought the film was very well made. The performances were very good to great. On the "great" side were Ann Hathaway (had me in tears during "I Dreamed a Dream"), the young Cosette, Gavroche, and Eddie Redmayne as Marius. The good: Hugh Jackman, who was at times great, but my god his wobbly voice was FAR more annoying on many occasions than any "tremolo" coming out of Amanda Seyfried. Her voice only irritated me once. Mostly, I thought she did a fine job. I liked the Thenardiers and Eponine and Enjolras and the Bishop. All good.

The costumes, sets, art direction and makeup were all fine ... although the main town square set looked just a tad too "Diagon Alley" for me with that crooked building in the center of the split streets. It felt false for whatever reason.

The other major complaint I have is with the sound mixing. The voices were all coming from the center channel, with very few exceptions (not even on all the chorus numbers did they utilize the surrounds or even side channels), and it felt very flat to me. It created a distance between me and the action. The live singing itself wasn't the problem (and in fact I loved most of that), not the actors voices either, but the sound design itself. I also felt that the orchestra wasn't spread out enough in the channels. Over 90 percent of it came from the front left and right sources. Very rarely did it fill the surrounds, and only during the battle scenes did I suddenly remember this was a full surround mix film. BAD, bad, bad. That decision did the singers and musicians no favors. At times I thought it was way too soft, too.

All in all, I liked the movie in spite of its faults, largely because the performances were so good, and the overall story is strong even if the pacing, by virtue of the source material, is not.

As far as taking its place in the stream of current stage-to-film adaptations, I would put it somewhere in the middle. It's not anywhere near as good as Chicago, Dreamgirls, or Hairspray. I would put it even with Nine (despite its faults, it's an equally entertaining and engaging film overall) and Sweeney Todd (also good despite its many faults). It's better than Mamma Mia! and much better than Phantom of the Opera, which is at the bottom of the heap and pretty unwatchable to me.

As far as Oscars go, I could see it getting up for Best Picture, but it won't win. Ann Hatahway has the best shot at winning. Hugh Jackman may or may not get nominated, but I found a few key scenes to be let downs because of his wobbly and slightly overblown voice. Russell Crowe could get nominated, but his biggest "private moment" fell completely flat to me ("Stars") where he sing about how "restless" he is and there is no sign whatsoever to that point that he has been restless. Obsessed, yes, but never restless. Way too composed, in fact. Eddie Redmayne could also get nominated, but I doubt it. And it should rack up nominations for Art Direction, Costumes, and Makeup.

I know the cinematography bothers some, but I had no problem with it. I don't agree at all that the shots are all "too close" or "too wobbly," There were plenty of medium shots, wide shots, etc. I have no idea how anybody gets that impression. Still, I don't think it will get an Oscar nod for it (or for editing). I would be surprised. And the sound was atrocious, so no awards there.

I predict the word-of-mouth on this will be, "Yeah, it's pretty good, but it's really long and kinda boring for long stretches."

That doesn't spell "blockbuster" to me.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
jasonf
Broadway Legend
joined:12/26/03
I just got back from it, and personally, I found it to be tremendous. Granted, I've been a fan for 25 years and not nearly close to an "average" film goer on this one, but it met every expectation I had.

Honestly, I loved the editing. Things that are skimmed over in the show actually made more sense in the movie. The performances were across the board fantastic. Hathaway deserves an Oscar. Jackman should get nominated, as should Redmayne.

The only quibble I had was some of Hooper's shots were bizarrely placed - pushing people into the corners of the screen for no real reason. There weren't THAT many shots like that, but enough that it was noticable.

Overall though - easily my favorite movie of the year, and definitely one of the best musicals of all time.
Hi, Shirley Temple Pudding.
goldenboy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/05
I am probably in the minority (my friends who I went with all liked it) but i found the film to be a colossal bore. In fact, I left after and hour and 15 minutes. Everyone was so "earnest." Every one seemed to have two emotions: miserable and more miserable. Yawn. It was kind of like Sweeney Todd the movie part two. (Didn't like that either but I managed to stay for the whole of Sweeney)
I didn't care about any of the characters. They were pathetic at the beginning, they were more pathetic as it went on and I just couldn't care about anyone. I kept thinking of the line from" Jeffrey." " All that over a loaf of bread. Get over it."I have seen the Broadway Show twice but I couldn't follow the plot of this plodding movie.
Please keep Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen away from musicals.
Bring back Vincent Minelli, Stanley Dolan, George Cukor--even Carol Reed.
Does no one know how to make a movie musical anymore??
I don't care if they are dead. Bring them home!
michellek45
Leading Actor
joined:5/20/11
Overall, I thought it was very good. Not amazing, but very good. I'm going to see it again tomorrow, so I'd definitely say it was successful overall. But I do have my qualms with it.

Cinematography/Directing/Editing: These are the categories I know/care the least about, so I haven't got a lot to say. I echo the sentiments of people saying that the close-ups for every. single. solo. did not work well at all after the first couple of songs. It became repetitive and dull, and I found myself saying "OK, he/she's going to turn or walk around or move a bit or something." I think "On My Own" was one of the most effective because Samantha Barks was allowed to move around, so that even though the camera was basically up in her face the whole time, there was some sort of movement. "ECAET" was the worst in this regard, I think- I kept expecting us to get to see a different angle of the cafe, Marius looking out into the street, anything to change the scene a bit. There were two moments of cinematography I really loved, the change from the "Soliloquy" to "At the End of the Day" and the transition between "Javert's Suicide" and "Turning."

Plot Changes: I think they only work if you've read the book. My parents, who don't really know the plot, both thought they crammed too much in what seemed like only one night during "Lovely Ladies" for Fantine. I agree that up until we meet the Thenardiers the show felt rushed, probably because they went through more locations than the stage show does. There was more physical movement of the characters than there is in the stage version. My dad asked "Who?" when I asked if he was confused about Marius' grandfather, but I thought it was very emotional when Marius woke up after being shot and saw his grandfather. So they don't really detract, but if you don't come in with knowledge of the book, they don't mean much, either. Although I think having Eponine get shot saving Marius was a great addition, and the audience did a collective gasp when I saw it.

Song Changes: Again, for the most part, it was OK. There were a couple of spots here and there, like someone said earlier, where they seemed to have rearranged lines for no reason and they tried to cut things out, which is fine, but sometimes it was done awkwardly and the next line became jarring. I thought the new placement of songs was VERY effective, except for "On My Own." I didn't like how it transitioned into "One Day More," and it made Eponine's entire story jumbled into a very tiny bit of time. The new song was alright, it fit in well with the other songs, but eh, it didn't do much for me. Loved the reprise of "DYHTPS" at the barricades, though cutting "Drink With Me" down so much made it seem random and unnecessary.

Sets/Lighting: The sets were beautiful, both the locations and the sound stages. The shots of Digne were astounding, it was exactly like I pictured. The Bishop's sanctuary was also gorgeous, and I liked the repeated imagery of the candlesticks. The lighting was good all-around, and it stuck out especially in the sewers and "Who Am I?" They made it dark without it making it difficult to see, and the lighting during the barricade scenes gave it a true open-air feel.

Sound Mixing: No. Just...The orchestra was a ghost for half the film, it didn't grow when it needed to grow, maybe because the dynamic range of the mix itself was too compressed to allow for too much variation in the crescendos and decrescendos. There were a couple of moments when they switched between ensemble singing and a solo singer that were jarring, seemingly mixed or recorded with different equipment. I will say that the ensemble itself sounded amazing, and the vocals were well recorded- it was just the mixing that I had issues with.

Orchestrations: I was very, very, very disappointed with these, but I don't completely blame the orchestrator. It seemed like everyone either couldn't belt or was told not to, which negatively affected the orchestrations. You couldn't have the full, epic brass sound that I associate with many of the songs, and I thought the low brass especially was not nearly as present as I wanted it to be. And where was the percussion? Xylophones, suspended cymbals, timpani...I missed all of them. Too many strings, not nearly enough variety in the instrumentation. This was the most disappointing of the film for me.

Performances: The only ones I was truly disappointed with were Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. I seriously disliked "Bring Him Home"- he strained most of the time, had to belt, and diminished the impact that the final verse usually has when the actor DOES finally belt. The whole time I felt he was "acting," not "being." He was trying so hard, and it showed too much. Russell Crowe I thought was amazing in every respect except for his two big solos, which were huge let-downs. The whole time I liked his constrained, monotone singing, but "Stars" and his suicide should have been more emotional. Anne Hathaway I thought was very good until her death, which was a bit excessive and over-the-top. Amanda was fine, and she turned me into a mess during the Epilogue. She was a sweet Cosette, and she and Redmayne played off each other well. Redmayne, Tveit, and Barks were the true stand-outs for me. It helped that they didn't seem to be concentrating on being "gritty" or the singing, they just went for it. Redmayne was amazingly sweet as Marius, and he seemed truly conflicted over his place in the world. Tveit was both angelic and scary, perfect for Enjolras, calculating yet passionate. Barks had so much written across her face, she didn't even need to open her mouth for you to know what she was feeling. She and Redmayne gave one of the best "ALFOR" renditions I've ever heard. Overall I was pleased with this film, and I will probably be buying it when it comes out on DVD.
Mattbrain
Broadway Legend
joined:11/23/05
And of course, goldenboy, you'll be repeating your review verbatim whenever you're given the opportunity.
Butters, go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you. --Cartman: South Park ATTENTION FANS: I will be played by James Barbour in the upcoming musical, "BroadwayWorld: The Musical."

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