Written December 28, 2012
If you're a fan of Les Miserables and/or musicals... this is a must go.
If not, this may be a long movie for you.
This rendition of Les Miserables does not follow the Broadway show or the novel verbatim. The general story is there, but several character relationships are disconnected from their as written roles. Despite being streamlined, the story is cohesive.
The acting in this movie is beyond top shelf. That being said, Hugh Jackman has a tough time pulling off the vocals and Russell Crowe's characterization of Javert doesn't have the curt and clipped vocals expected of his character. Anne Hathaway absolutely steals the show with her performance. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter provided a nice touch of comedy.
I found the visuals just ok, but I'm recently spoiled from the amazingly beautiful sets of Anna Karenina. That's less important as Les Miserables focuses heavily on the characters faces.
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Written January 04, 2013
Having only seen the Liam Neeson movie version and having NOT seen the musical, I was surprised and stunned at how beautiful and moving this movie was. I have since become a Les Mis junkie (sorry to my poor husband) and now offer the following: I thought the vast majority of the actors sang their roles beautifully. Regarding Russell Crowe - he can carry a tune but don't feel he was great choice for Javert. In fact, I found it distracting to have him in the movie because no matter what, when you see him you just think, "Hey - there's Russell Crowe and he's singing. Why is he singing?" Samantha Barks was fantastic as Eponine. I loved her version of "On My Own." Sacha Baron Cohen was fantastic as Thenardier. I did find some of the group singing hard to understand. Cockney is difficult to understand when merely spoken, let alone sung. In the end, I was sobbing with everyone in the theater. Bring tissues.
Written January 02, 2013
Very moving, very intense, and very long. If you can't sit though 3 hours of music - a total of 49 songs, don't go. If you like musicals, history, period costumes, and beautiful sets, you should indulge yourself.
Written December 27, 2012
I've heard most of the recordings and have seen the production live. Since I knew that actors, rather than professional musicians (for the most part) were taking the leads, I expected the acting to be superb, the singing to be so-so, and the emotional intensity to be extremely high. All three exceeded expectations.
The most disappointing aspect of the movie to me was its raciness. I was particularly disappointed by how sex and prostitution were treated as funny in Master of the House, although those same things ruined Fantine's life. The producers seemed to be sending a very mixed message, caving to the typical Hollywood expectations rather than focusing on the social evil that Victor Hugo showed prostitution to be. I was uncomfortable with its explicitness, having taken my younger sister and cousin along with me, expecting the raciness level of the stage show rather than this.
However, the redemption message remains powerful. Worth seeing.
Written December 27, 2012
Fabulous, BUT... ~~~Music was surprisingly good -coming from a die hard Les Mis fan. Acting was excellent. Costumes were good. The staging was nice. Story was exceptional -change your life- kind of story, as usual. Characters were for the most part very believable.~~~
The camera work was terrible. Almost ruined the movie! They shot it in a stylized format with very short depth of field - backgrounds blurry and directs your eyes where they want you to see. However, they missed. Short depth of field too short and with moving subjects? the closeups were out of focus about half of the time. Seriously! Why pay $10 for a movie when they don't have any of their face in focus? Not even one eye? VERY DISTRACTING! Also, they used wide angle lenses several times that distorted the faces too much. ~~~The vulgarity, and sex scene were too much. The violence was strong. Too much for a young teen.~~~Truer to the book than the musical - a little. good overall. See, but with caution.