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 26, 2012
This just did not work. If you are a fan of this musical then you will not like this movie. The actors barely sing the songs. The best cinematography is in the trailer. The rest is not interesting. The natural camera movements and music video fast editing made me angry. This is an embarrassing mess.
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.