Thursday, January 3, 2013

Les Miserables

The movie that audiences couldn't wait for and then couldn't leave



       The story of Les Miz began for me back in December of 1985 when Monica and I were on a train from London to York.  There was a poster of a new musical in the West End that had not yet caught much press in the U.S. and so, for us, sounded rather odd and boring.  Twenty-seven years later and the phenomenon of Les Miserables lives on culminating in the film version.

An Epic French Revolution Scene
      Film can sometimes convey so much more than a stage production and that's certainly true for some scenes in Les Miz.  It is epic.  On the other hand, a musical that has more
than one ending and multiple character studies kept Broadway audiences wanting more, but transfers into an excruciatingly long work on the big screen.  This version seems operatic where the original felt a little lighter even with the heavy subject matter.
Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway
Performances are award worthy with two major problems.  Most of the best actors are killed off—Fantine (Anne Hathaway), Éponine (Samantha Barks), and street urchin Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone). The exceptions are Russell Crowe (Javert) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) who felt masterfully relaxed singing their parts.  Thankfully, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen appear from time to time for some much needed comic relief.  Although Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) is the lone musical theater star, oddly enough he is the one that seemed strained and miscast.  His performance is strong, but his singing is not up to par with the others or the mood of the movie.

Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen





Funny how their accents all seemed so English for a French themed movie.

2 comments:

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