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My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film

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Musical Master
Broadway Star
joined:4/28/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/5/14 at 09:34pm
After all this time, I'm going to break my silence and tell you all how I feel about the Les Miserables film that came out in December of 2012.

The 1930's-early 70's was a time when musicals were an art form, an important part of cinema. Musical films, especially adapations from theatre musicals, like: "Guys and Dolls", "Okalhoma!", "The King and I", "Carousel", "South Pacific", "The Sound of Music", "Funny Girl", "Oliver!", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Cabaret", and "Jesus Christ Superstar", were all very popular and added importance, but since beginning of the mid-70's, changed peoples views due to "realistic films" (New Hollywood) and didn't even bother with the genre anymore. In the mid 70s-late 90's, musical films were viewed by Hollywood as an outdated genre that won't say: box office hit, even Oscar worthy. That is until in 2001, when Australian director Baz Luhrmann created "Moulin Rouge"; (an epic mess of a film with great design but an extremely, infuriating cliched plot, some questionable song placements, to fast editing, and okay acting.) the genre was popular once again. Then in 2002 another triumph occured , from director Rob Marshall's Oscar winning smash hit: "Chicago", which won Best Picture, the first musical film to win such an honor since "Oliver!" in 1968. However there was a price to pay, the most recent of musical films never reached any sort of high honors with critical misses and became box office bombs like: "The Phantom of the Opera" "Rent", "The Producers", "Across The Universe" (not an adaptation of a theatre musical), "Mamma Mia" (box office hit but not critically warm), "Nine", and "Rock of Ages". Despite the "good" musical films winning money and better reception like: "Dreamgirls", "Hairspray", and "Sweeney Todd" (kind of), they never ranked with the classics from the early years when musicals were a common genre. As for me, none of the recent musicals films, not even "Chicago", or "Evita" in 1996, reached me to rank them with the best of the classics. That is, until I saw "Les Miserables", the film adaptation of the popular musical version of the same name which itself is based on the 1862 Victor Hugo novel.

That film, is nothing short of not only a triumph of film, it is a reinvention of a genre that was dying out again. This is not only the best musical film in a very long time, it may be my favorite film of 2012 period; this is a memorable, epic, and beautiful experience that I will never forget in a movie theatre. Directed by Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for "The King's Speech" in 2011, makes this an extrodinary piece that justifies him as a director with a vision, which you barely see anymore. His filming style is fascinating with close-ups on the main characters with one single song to sing, sweeping shots of France, intense and sweeping editing (By Chris Dickens; which is needed in a barricade battle near the end of the film and the best finale for any musical film since "The King and I"), makes him not only creative but very memorable. His direction is Oscar calliber and it works for the story, actors, the sets, and the songs to be in harmony. The greatest aspect that makes this film work is the live singing on set without lipsyncing to a recording from three months ago makes this more unique than any other musical film. Sure it has been done several times in the past, but not to this extent. You could not find a better choice than him, he did justice to the source material.

The casting is a very rare thing which I call: inspired. Hugh Jackman did a very great job as Jean Valjean, with his outstanding acting and well done singing. Russell Crowe, which I will confess, suprised me. He actually is not a bad singer at all, in fact, he did very good as Javert. You could feel the intensity when he and Jackman are on screen together, his song "Stars" may be his only minor weak part of the movie. He sings it well, but it feels a little flat; although that is a great sign of an actor putting consistant continuity to his acting and his singing is only second, which works very well in musical films. I disagree with critisisms that he is the weak link (honestly Gerard Butler did worse in Phantom). Anne Hathaway, all I can say about her is give her the Oscar for Supporting Actress please. She was perfect as Fantine, the mother of Cosette; her singing was amazing, her acting was great, and she truly was one of 7 times this movie made me very teary eyed. "I Dreamed a Dream", was one of the many brilliant scenes, that from what I heard in the movie theatre I went to, people cried; I had that moment too. Amanda Seyfried did a nice job for what she had to do with such a thankless character named Cosette. Eddie Redmayne was also perfectly cast as Marius, which his song "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" also moved me to tears. Samantha Barks once again did a great job with reprising her role as Eponine and we feel her pain as Marius loves Cosette. "On My Own" and "A Little Fall of Rain", is where her acting is outstanding and her death scene is very sad but heart warming. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are perfectly cast as the Thenadiers giving us much needed comic relief. Lets give thanks to Aaron Tveit as Enjorlas the revolutionary, his singing may not be as great as some of the stage actors who played this role before, but he sings it well and his character is played very charismaticly.

The only minor thing which I can say was a bit of a problem was that some scenes felt a little rushed but again, it's only a minor blip in a outstanding film with this kind of effort put into it. The look of the film when it comes from a design point of view is breathtaking to look at on the big screen.

All in all, this is the movie we have all been waiting for. Great casting, acting, singing; with outstanding direction, editing, cinematography (by Danny Cohen) and designs (costumes by Paco Delgado and production by Eve Stuart) makes this as not only the best adaptation of a stage musical in a very long time, but the absolute best film I have seen in 2012; I will remember and talk about it for years to come.
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CapnHook
Broadway Legend
joined:5/12/03
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/5/14 at 11:23pm
OK.
"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."
--Aristotle
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jimmycurry01
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/5/14 at 11:48pm
We were all waiting on the edge of our seats for you to break your silence. Thank you for finally putting an end to the anticipation. It was becoming unbearable.

In any case, I am glad you enjoyed it. Unfortunately, your comments likely mean that we will have to hear from Dave19 on this subject again.
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ClydeBarrow
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/12
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:11am
I hope you break wind next.
"Pardon my prior Mcfee slip. I know how to spell her name. I just don't know how to type it." -Talulah
 Musical Master Profile Photo
Musical Master
Broadway Star
joined:4/28/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:13am
^LOL
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CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:28am
You've taken a writing class haven't you?
That's right! Underscore mother-fu@#ers!
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Charley Kringas Inc
Stand-by
joined:8/12/11
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:30am
Eagerly awaiting your next thread, "What I did on my summer vacation".
 Musical Master Profile Photo
Musical Master
Broadway Star
joined:4/28/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:34am
CATSNYrevival, I have for two years in high school and one year in college.

Charley Kringas Inc, maybe on my off-topic thread when I head to NYC as a birthday gift (I turned 21 three days ago). Sorry if this subject is EXTREMELY LATE, but I've been shy about talking about this film because I didn't know how people would react.
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FishermanBob
Broadway Legend
joined:7/9/12
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:53am
Well this review is helpful cause I've been on the fence as to whether I should see it. But based on your comments, I've decided it's worth seeing so tomorrow, I'm going to rush right out to my local multiplex and make sure I get a ticket for the first showing.
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Patronus
Broadway Legend
joined:7/24/05
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 03:46am
Don't go first thing tomorrow. Sources tell me that he is going to be posting his review of the new cinematic masterpiece, "Show Boat" in the morning!
skylight2
Understudy
joined:6/13/14
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 05:09am
Wow. Clearly you have a lot of time on your hands.
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anmiller07
Leading Actor
joined:11/15/07
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 05:42am
Russell Crowe, which I will confess, suprised me. He actually is not a bad singer at all, in fact, he did very good as Javert.
LOL. But seriously, tl;dr.
Updated On: 8/6/14 at 05:42 AM
LittleEdieFan
Understudy
joined:12/21/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 06:12am
Someone's prescription has run out.
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Showface
Broadway Star
joined:6/25/14
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:20pm
I haven't seen it yet, but I did see a clip of Javerts death.



It was hilarious.
I can't even! Ughh! Don't you...don't you understand? I'M IN TECH!!!
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Sutton Ross
Broadway Legend
joined:7/20/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:24pm
Russell trying to be Javert was all around hilarious. I mean, Jesus Christ.
Dilettante
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jpbran
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/06
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:24pm
I'm hearing good things about Pierce Brosnan in "Mamma Mia" -- anyone know when we might start hearing reactions from sneak previews or industry screenings?
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LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:25pm
I'm so glad your two-year embargo has ended, Musical Master! A MASTER indeed.
"Don't patronize me, alright?" - BroadwayStar4
 Musical Master Profile Photo
Musical Master
Broadway Star
joined:4/28/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 12:32pm
^Thanks LizzieCurry, I really appreciate it.

I'm very glad that were having fun on here, it proves that we have a good time with this board. :)

Updated On: 8/6/14 at 12:32 PM
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SweetLips
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 06:55pm
I'll support you Musical Master-don't agree with all you say but your sincerity, enthusiasm, love of film musicals and youth made for an interesting read. Once you expose yourself like this on a public board then you are fair game; don't be deterred, express honestly how you feel and I look forward to your other thoughts on whatever/whenever.
 Musical Master Profile Photo
Musical Master
Broadway Star
joined:4/28/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 07:12pm
^That's really kind of you to say that, I do thank you so much for your support and don't worry, I don't feel deterred at all; I know people love to have fun and I understand perfectly. I might actually write reviews for ANNIE and INTO THE WOODS when they come out in December.
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Showface
Broadway Star
joined:6/25/14
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/6/14 at 10:20pm
This VERY funny video sort of sums up the issues with the film.
Honest Trailer
I can't even! Ughh! Don't you...don't you understand? I'M IN TECH!!!
South Florida
Featured Actor
joined:5/2/08
DigificWriter
Understudy
joined:1/23/12
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/12/14 at 07:11pm
It seems that most of the other posts here have been snarky and rude, so I'll go ahead and saw that I wholeheartedly agree with you on your thoughts concerning Russell Crowe and his performance as Javert.

I have seen Les Mis performed LIVE on stage 3 times - and listened to several different recorded versions of the show - and the performance delivered by Crowe is genuinely one of my top two favorite performances of the role of Javert, with the other being Earl Carpenter on the 2010 Live U.K. Tour Cast Album.

Crowe admittedly performs Javert's parts much 'softer' than Carpenter or any of the others I've seen and heard in the role, but, rather than being a problem, I feel that it's actually very good that he doesn't try to 'ape' other performances and delivers something that feels much more intimate, particularly given the differences between stage and film as a medium of storytelling.

The one area I disagree with you on is the strength of Crowe's performance of "Stars", as I find it to be one of the strongest performances on the score. While most of the other Javerts I've seen and heard over the years perform the song as an anthemic vow, Crowe performs it as an intimate and solemn prayer, which, IMO, fits the overall approach that Tom Hooper took with the rest of the film, and is perfectly suited for the differences between film and stage.

I also wanted to echo your sentiments on the performances of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, particularly Cohen's. He's not someone I'm normally all that fond of, but what he does with the role of Thenardier was the single most inspired performance of that role I've ever come across. The already-raucous "Master of the House" becomes even better with the way Cohen chose to sing the lyrics with an affected and exaggerated accent, and his choice to pick up the Colette gag from "The Waltz of Treachery" and run with it throughout the rest of the story was also brilliant and adds a new level of smarminess to the role beyond what is normally present.
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Musical Master
Broadway Star
joined:4/28/13
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/12/14 at 07:21pm
^I'm glad that I'm not alone when it comes to Crowe, but I think that while I liked his singing in "Stars" which does fit Hooper's concept of the film, I still wished it had stronger impression on me the way he did the suicide scene.

I agree 100% about Cohen, he was well cast and he brought alot of fun in the role.
DigificWriter
Understudy
joined:1/23/12
My Thoughts on the Les Mis Film
Posted: 8/12/14 at 07:40pm
I really wish they would've released the complete version of the score for the film (even the Deluxe version of the soundtrack doesn't contain the entire thing) because of how strongly the entire cast performs everything. It's particularly frustrating and sad that they cut out what I feel is one of Anne Hathaway's strongest-sung ensemble performances in "At the End of the Day".

Updated On: 8/12/14 at 07:40 PM