Les Misérables. Thank you for giving us such a beautiful gift on Christmas Day 2012. This movie was as beautiful to look at as it was to listen to. Now that you know my overall reaction, let's get down to the nitty gritty.
My Les Misérables background: I have not read the book nor seen any previous film versions of the book. I have, however, seen the stage show on Broadway. I am aware that many people reading this post will have had much more experience than I with this masterpiece, so I will not pretend to be an expert. I feel privileged to have seen the show on Broadway and have been a fan ever since. My expectation level was pretty high for this film considering the star studded cast (Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe to name just a few) and excellent director (Tom Hooper, The King's Speech) and I am happy to say I was not disappointed.
I only have one negative thing to say so let's get that out of the way so I can go on gushing about this movie. Russell Crowe's singing voice is a bit nasally (is that a word?) and annoying to me. My hat is off to Russell Crowe for taking on the gigantic task of becoming Javert. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't have a terrible singing voice but it was annoying to me. On a side note, I heard Hugh Jackman in an interview say that the singing was done live, as opposed to being dubbed in later, which is done in most movies. Pay attention to that while you are watching the movie, you can really hear the emotion in their voices that might have been missed if the singing had been added after the moment was over.
The story is beautiful, plain and simple. Redemption, sorrow, loss, hope, guilt, love, courage, the list goes on and on of the deep and moving themes of this story. Even if you aren't a fan of musicals you will be touched by the depth of the story line alone. A word of caution for those that don't usually go to musicals, this is a LONG movie. If you love it, as I did, you are happy that it keeps going. If you hate singing I'm not sure how you would feel. My advice for you is to try to get past the singing and focus on the story. My husband, who is 50/50 on musicals, absolutely loved it.
Anne Hathaway was the biggest surprise to me. I expected Hugh Jackman to be fantastic as Jean Valjean and he was. I don't mean to discount his genius in any way but I must admit I wasn't jumping for joy when I heard that Anne Hathaway was cast as Fantine. Once again, I must admit how wrong I can be by telling you that her portrayal was moving, lovely and brilliant.
This is not a perfect film and there will be Les Misérables purest that will disagree with my review, I'm sure. Having such big names in the movie can, no doubt, be a distraction from the story and music. I can see that people might argue that the stars overshadow the score. That would be a valid opinion but since I haven't had years of history with Les Misérables I was happy with the balance. I told you before that I don't read other reviews before I post mine so I am really looking forward to see what is written about this movie.
Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, eat lots of dinner and dessert and then get out there and see Les Misérables.
Les Misérables is rated PG-13 for violence and some sexual content.
What do you think of Ronda's Reaction to Les Misérables?