Les Miserables – Movie Review

As a general rule, I do not like musicals. The lyrics are often sappy, and it seems ridiculous how, in the middle of a life-changing event, the characters will burst into song and dance around. The new version of Les Miserables does not fall neatly into the musical category. Yes, there is singing; however, it is not typical. In some instances it’s not even that good. And yet I liked it, far more than most musicals I’ve watched.

What is good about Les Mis is that it follows the book fairly well,which is saying something, since Victor Hugo could be long-winded. But the heart of the story is intact in this movie. The cinematography and costuming are wonderful, too.

The singing is the part that most people are talking about, though. Most of the dialogue of the movie is done through singing, which has an interesting effect. It actually adds emotion in parts, like Fantine’s song “I Dreamed a Dream.” Anne Hathaway was brilliant in the role of Fantine, and her version of “I Dreamed” was heart-breaking.

Les Miserables may not be the easiest or most comfortable movie you could watch, but it’s an important one, and the story is well-told. I would recommend watching it in the theater, too, to get the grand scope that Victor Hugo had in his book, and Tom Hooper was able to keep in the movie.

2 Responses

  1. Supercharged Hobbit

    That is the essential difference between just a musical and an opera. Wasn’t Les Mis an opera, and not just a broadway musical? Of course everything must be sung! Ha HA! And who better to do it than people who have the experience performing this all on the stage? Wonderful casting! Well, except for maybe Russell Crowe. PLEASE, don’t get me wrong. I have been in love with Russell Crowe since Gladiator, and continue to appreciate his work. But his vocals lacked the power and persuasion I saw so easily in Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, and Eddie Redmayne.

    But regardless, what I found interesting and appreciated the most was the fact that they didn’t pre-record their vocals and lip-sync to them when it came to filming the scenes. Everything and everyone’s performance was “live”. Yeah, sure, they did multiple takes, but the essence of a “stage production” was definately there, even though it was still on the Big Screen.

    When some people hear that it is a “musical” and “yes, the actors do in fact sing and dance”, they are immediately turned off by the notion. Just fine. This type of entertainment is definately not for everyone. HOWEVER, if you do appreciate this form of the arts, even if you’re not familiar with the story or its characters or the music involved, it is very much worth the ticket price.

  2. I looked it up, and Les Mis is classified as a “musical play.” I don’t think that’s the same as opera, but I could be wrong.
    And yes, I agree with you about Russell Crowe. His singing wasn’t the same as the others. His portrayal of Javert was still excellent, but his singing… Well, yeah. 🙂
    And the non-lip-synching was excellent. It made a big difference in the quality and emotional content of the movie.
    I also really liked Samatha Barks as Eponine. A small part, but well done.

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