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 March 06, 2015
An amazing performance by all - the raw emotion that was displayed in this film brought such a credibility to the delivery of the story, it's characters and the inner values of the story. Most striking is the message of Val Jean's steadfastness to remember the grace he received and to pay that grace forward, replacing the bitterness and hate. It isn't easy to watch - times during that period were desperate and they don't sugar coat that - but sometimes we need a dose of reality to make us understand how much we take for granted. We left the theater humbled.
Written January 25, 2015
Hathaway has really come along as an actress and she's gorgeous. The rest is so-so... I've been to a fair number of live musicals, but I had a difficult time sitting through this movie. Some performances were cringe-worthy and lackluster.
Written December 25, 2012
Oddly, the worst part of Les Miserables are its leads, including award nominee Hugh Jackman whose voice comes across far too nasally for the tough ex-convict Jean Valjean. He is a bit better than Russell Crowe whose lack of emotional expression is only matched by his lack of vocal range. Finally, there are far too many jump cuts between characters in one scene & between songs, eliminating any continuity or story flow. There were other times when I thought they overused tight close-ups when a range of camera angles would have been more fitting, such as Marius mournful tribute to his dead friends, "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" that included no shots of any chairs or tables.
But, for true Les Miserables fans, it is still a must see. The rest of the cast is incredible, especially Anne Hathaway as Fantine. There were plenty of other amazing performances including the surprisingly versatile talents of Sacha Baron Cohen as the opportunistic innkeeper, Broadway singers, & chorus.
Written September 02, 2015
It's amazing how differently the same story comes across when presented in a different format. I've read the book, seen the play and now the movie. Each has something unique to offer. The story is compelling in any genre, and while I personally enjoyed the roadshow the best, I did enjoy the movie. I think the movie actors who are cinema professionals did an outstanding job with the character portrayals. I thought Anne Hathaway especially brought a depth of character to Fontine that you wouldn't find in the roadshow. With Russell Crowe as Jabert, he came across as much more human than the strict "legal automaton" that one usually imagines. That said, the road show are cast not only for their acting abilities, but for their voices. If you are expecting the same quality of musicianship, you might be a little disappointed. It's a trade, but again, one worthy of making. I think the best thing about the movie is that it brings the timeless story of "Les Mis" to the masses.