26 December 2012

Les Miserables

Synopsis: (hijacked from IMDB)
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette.  The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

Why did I watch this movie again?

I’ve always loved the musical production of this story.  I read about 2/3 of the unabridged novel, got tired of tangents, and got the abridged version from the library to finish it.  The story is beautiful, and the trailer alone for this movie made me cry.  I brought tissues.

5 out of 5


These characters are not new to me, and I think most of the actors did admirable jobs capturing the emotions of the story on the big screen.

However, I do have to say that Russell Crowe made Javert more flat than a cardboard cutout could have.  I’m pretty sure his facial expression didn’t change more than twice throughout the whole movie.  Javert is supposed to be passionate, not bored.  Sheesh, come on guys.

I especially loved Anne Hathaway as Fantine.  She had me crying at the end.

4 out of 5

Did I care what happened?

Yes.  Even though I knew the story I was excited to see what happened next, because this was a film adaptation of the musical.  Well, I thought it was going to be more of a film adaptation of the musical, and less of extreme close ups of people singing.  So yes, I cared, but it was lacking something.

3 out of 5

Plot Holes

Pretty sure I’d get drawn and quartered if I pointed out any plot holes in Les Miz. 

4 out of 5

How many times did I yawn?

I didn’t yawn, but I was surprised that the film followed the musical so completely.  I was expecting at least one or two bits that made me go “Ooh!”

Don’t get me wrong, they did a few cool things, but not as many as I wanted.  Yes, I’m needy.

4 out of 5

Cool Factor

And this is where this movie failed for me.  Now don’t get crazy on me, if you love this story (like I do) then see the movie. It is good.  The story is sound, the characters are already alive in people’s minds, the music is awesome and the delivery is okay.

But I feel like they missed something, and this is what I think it is.  This is a film, not a stage theater performance. In the scene where Fantine is dying, they actually showed Cosette coming through the curtains—a hallucination.  Pretty sure in the play you never see Cosette, but it was really powerful in this film.

My favorite song is Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.  Let me remind you again that this is a film. In film, you should use your advantages.  This scene is super powerful and usually has me bawling like a kid who just lost their ice cream cone to the neighbor’s dog.  But this one didn’t.  The guy can sing, and his delivery was fine, but at this point I was really tired of extreme close up shots of people singing.  Seriously, nose hair counting close ups.  I wanted them to actually show us this guy’s friends (now all dead) in the room with him. Phantom faces at the windows.  But NOoooo…he sits there and we see his face for 90% of the song. Not even much of the empty room.

They missed a great opportunity to add just a little, using film as their medium, and make it an even deeper experience for the audience.  Show, don’t tell, especially in a movie!

That is my rant.  Don’t judge the movie just by the rant. Almost everyone I’ve talked to who has seen the movie loved it.  Go see it yourself, and get back to me.

2 out of 5

The End

Cried, like a baby.  Almost everyone behind me was sniffling. Nicely done. Anne Hathaway did such a good job!

4 out of 5

Overall Enjoyment

Wanted to like it more, but I won’t tell anyone not to go see it.

4 out of 5


That's a high Purple Belt!

1 comment:

Antiquarian said...

A number of critics that I trust pointed out many of the same points you did. In fact one basically panned the film saying that better versions could be done in a high school (ouch).