Monday, 21 January 2013

film review: les miserables

Les Miserables (2012)
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried...
Genre: Musical/Drama/Romance
Rating: 7/10

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

I've been meaning to write this for a week but my feelings are incoherent and rambly and tend to involve lots of gesturing and wailing! Trying to get my thoughts down in list form is probably the way to go! As a disclaimer I should probably say that whilst I'm very familiar with the music and knew the plot before I saw the film, I've never seen the musical or read the book.

The Good

  • Eddie Redmayne - WHO KNEW HE COULD SING?!?! His rendition of 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables' was really something. A+ for you sir.
  • Anne Hathaway was pretty spectacular. (Though I'd listened to a review earlier in the week which commented on how her bright white Hollywood teeth somewhat undermined the illusion of her destitution (and botched dentistry!) and that was a really distracting thought to have bouncing around my head while she was singing!)
  • The cinematography was beautiful. My favourite shot was probably that of Enjolras hanging out of the window but the whole thing was very aesthetically pleasing.
  • The boys at the barricade! 80% of my feelings were for you! (Eponine had 15% and everyone else can share the rest!)

The Bad
  • Russell Crowe wasn't absolutely terrible but really wasn't up to par. The movie was guaranteed to draw in huge audiences so I don't really understand this casting choice.
  • The editing was horrible. If you're filming a musical you either need to edit the film in time with the music or reject its influence altogether, this tried to do both and it didn't work at all! The street scenes in 'At the End of the Day' were particularly horrible.

Overall, I was underwhelmed. I tend to be a bit ridiculous with musicals - I cry at everything and was fully expecting to sob from start to finish but this version of Les Mis just didn't push those buttons. For whatever reason I just wasn't all that invested in the Valjean/Javert dynamic (during one of their duets I really wished that they'd be quiet because there was some really pretty orchestration going on!) so everything I cared about was in the second half and seemed a little rushed. The film was beautiful and the music was wonderful (minus Russell Crowe) but it just didn't click somehow.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, I'm sorry you were underwhelmed by this! It would be hard to get into it if you're not invested. LOVE Eddie Redmayne though. :D