December 28, 2012
Exhausting pace but some standout moments
Okay, when I think of purely entertaining stage-to-film musicals that work, I think "Chicago" right off. Well, this is not pure entertainment, it's purely exhausting. Very good, but exhausting. Compared to the stage versions I've seen, the film rendering of Les Miz is relentlessly paced and leaves little or no breathing room. The gritty sets - and often gritty actors' faces and clothing - plus the close camera angles and "live" singing leaves no respite from the emotional barrage of the story. Hathaway and Jackman are standouts, the young actors playing Cosette and Gavroche are heart-stealers, but Crowe (who's done outstanding work elsewhere) is a wooden Javert with misérable vocals (apt for the story I guess). The "I Dreamed A Dream" scene alone could get Ms. Hathaway an oscar - maybe a tad over the top but impressive delivery. I liked it, I say go see it, just be sure to get some deep breaths during the previews. You won't get a chance once the film starts.
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