I grew up on Les Miserables, it was the first Broadway soundtrack I knew and by the age of 8, I knew every single word. My mother thought she was clever and when the song, 'Master of the House' came on, she'd have each swear word muted with extreme precision, so that they were the only words we didn't hear (not that we didn't already know the words within the song). It was also the first Broadway show I saw on Broadway at the age of 11. I was raised on the music and story, so I know it better than my childhood. So, when it was announced to be released as a film, I phoned my mum and told her excitedly, 'You'll never guess what is being filmed right now? Les Mis!'
Les Miserables is based off of Victor Hugo's novel of the same name. It became a musical running in France, London and New York as well as touring around the world. Set during the French Revolution, Les Mis is about a man named Jean Valjean who steals a loaf a bread and gets enslaved for 19 years to work off what he had done. He's released and has to make his way in the world on parole. Any more information, and it would spoil the plot.
Released Christmas day, my priorities were not Les Mis, it would wait a day. I had already made my opinions: Anne Hathaway wouldn't be very good, Hugh Jackman would be good to great (after all, he was a Broadway actor as well as a film star), Amanda Seyfried would be decent (she was good in Mama Mia after all) and no real opinion on Russell Crowe or the rest of the cast, besides Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter who'd be hilarious.
Well, I was fairly wrong. Hugh Jackman was fairly mediocre as convict Jean Valjean, the lead character. It wasn't that he isn't a good actor, he's a brilliant actor, but his voice was too tenor for the part, which was vocally richer than Jackman could provide. Anne Hathaway was fairly good as the ill fated Fantine. Her strongest scene was 'I Dreamed a Dream', which brought more emotion than it could on Broadway. Russell Crowe was fair, but had a problem with singing too staccato as the Inspector Javert. I could not stand Amanda Seyfried as beautiful and innocent Cosette. She tittered. Just tittered on every note.
Perhaps, I'm too attached to what I grew up with. The story was the same and unblemished as most of the songs were left in, but not always intact. Trimming the songs wasn't a huge grievance, especially with the length of the play. I will give credit, the film tied a lot of things together and gave a clear visual than the musical can on stage and it was visually beautiful. As well, it is still a tearjerker. I silently cried no less than four times while watching the film. So if you're going to see it, bring tissues.
Ok, sorry guys, this was a fail review.