Sunday, 13 January 2013

Les Miserables

I've just been to see this film for the second time since it was released on Friday and I thought I would wait until now to write my review of it. This is likely to be quite long so, I'm sorry, but it needs to be done. Also this post will contain **SPOILERS**.
Hugh Jackman was absolutely amazing! Although not vocally as talented as Alfie Boe he definitely had all the emotion needed to play Valjean and finally, a convict who is scary, not saintly! Jackman's journey was acted so well and it really felt like the character had changed so much by the end - some actors portray Valjean as good at the beginning which just doesn't work for me. I was sightly concerned when I heard the audio of 'Bring Him Home' as there is no doubt that he has to strain to make the notes, but when combined with the visuals it was stunning - although the addition of an eye of Valjean's shoulder throughout the scene, presumably meant to represent the eye of God, wasn't quite subtle enough for my taste, but some might like it.
Russell Crowe really doesn't deserve the criticism he's getting at all. I went into the cinema having read reviews and was expecting to hate him, but, actually, he was one of my favourite parts about this movie. I loved that there were similarities between 'Stars' and 'Javert's Suicide' and I'm so happy Hooper thought to include the Notre Dame and Palaice de Justice on either side of the screen as Javert jumped off the bridge as it really shows his struggle between morality and duty as Hugo intended it. He really was brilliant and the emotion constantly in his eyes was fantastic.
Anne Hathaway so deserves all the credit she's getting for her Fantine. 'I dreamed a dream' was heartbreaking, but the song that hit me more was 'Come to me' in which Fantine dies and hallucinates about Cosette, her daughter. Actually having little Cosette 'present' in that scene made it all the more powerful and touching. It was just so good and she really left a lasting impression.
Eddie Redmayne broke my heart during 'Empty Chairs at Empty Tables'. At first I really missed the spirits of his dead friends but when I think about it his loneliness was really emphasised by their absence. Additionally his stutters in "A Heart Full of Love", and jumping through the street throughout "In My Life", were brilliant touches. Finally a Marius who could stand up for himself as well as having that tender side!
Amanda Seyfried was definitely the weak point for me. Although her singing was more like book Cosette, it still wasn't quite there and I found myself regretting that little Cosette had grown up (Isabelle Allan was a brilliant young Cosette and was so cute with Valjean). However, Seyfried's scenes with Jackman were brilliant and her reaction to Valjean's death was one of the best I've seen.
Samantha Barks: of course she was amazing, we couldn't really expect anything less with the experience she has of playing Eponine. But she really did step it up for the movie and every time she was on screen you could just tell the whole audience's hearts were breaking for her. 'On My Own' was particularly good.
Fra Fee, Alastair Brammer and Killian Donneley were my favourite parts of the whole film; they were incredible! Particularly Fee and Donneley's reaction to Gavroche's going over the barricade and getting shot. Yeah, that just about broke me in two... at least until Hadley Fraser appeared on screen two seconds later. Ahh that face! Proving no part is small, Hadley's reaction to Gavroche's death and shooting the students was basically perfect, and for the first time it actually seemed like the National Guard were sorry for what they were having to do. Finally!
Daniel Huttlestone was a fantastic Gavroche and completely in line with Hugo's creation. I still haven't quite recovered from his death, but at all other times he was hilarious. Hopefully he'll be one to look out for in the West End in the future.
The opening chords gave me chills and I didn't stop trembling for quite a while into the film when I first saw it - I actually had to physically make myself sit still, it was becoming a little embarrassing. The orchestra the whole way through is amazing, and although it will always be considered secondary to the singing, I think it deserves a mention.
The Epilogue absolutely floored me and I couldn't actually see through tears for half of it (I'm not really a crier so this is saying something!). Colm Wilkinson not only coming back as the bishop but also as a ghost to take Valjean to Heaven was just too perfect and emphasised Valjean's journey from a resentful convict seeking revenge to an honorable man. Ahh I can't cope...
Overall this is without doubt the best film I've ever seen and probably ever will see - I think I ran out of superlatives to describe it a long time ago. Even the weak points are better than any movie I've witnessed before and I just loved it. Everything was perfect and it was the little things more than anything else that completely made the film. I adored that Hooper thought to include so much from the book that just wouldn't make sense on stage to give the film so much more scope and meaning. Many people have said that the film has made them understand the story better than the stage show did, and I can see why that would be since the detail included just wouldn't be feasible on stage. I'm so happy that this film has made Les Mis more widely available and the songs will be stuck in you're head for weeks after you see it. 10/10.


  1. the songs are still stuck in my head... I think I'm getting withdrawal symptons! It needs to hurry up and come out on DVD already x

    1. Hah Jess :L :).. you should know I'm still expecting a Les Mis review on your blog by the way.. especially since you've been writing a lot lately!! x

  2. YES. Yes yes yes. I don't agree with you about Amanda Seyfried, and I thought Russell Crowe's voice was a bit too weak, but otherwise...yes. Greatest movie EVAH! Killian Donnelly, Fra Fee, and Alistair Brammer. I keep spotting them in shows I watch. I'm not really a crying person either, but I was sobbing through probably the entire second half of the musical.
    Great review! :)

    1. Thanks! :) I haven't watched the film in so long, I might have to reserve a 3 hour slot for it tomorrow :) You're right though, the second half is so intense, just listening to the finale the other day had me welling up :L Thanks for commenting!