And hated isn’t even a strong enough word for how I felt about that movie. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Les Mis…it is my FAVORITE musical of ALL TIME. Big deal. This is probably why I have such strong feelings about the absolute wretched movie I just struggled to sit through.
I have been waiting for this movie for WELL over a year now. Scoping out trailers, reading about castings, waiting for posters, basically been on pins and needles for 12 months. What.a.waste.
Right off the bat, I could tell this was probably going to disappoint me. Thomas Hooper decides it’s going to be so “epic” to have his actors sing live during filming…I’ll give it to him that it’s ballsy, but there is a REASON no one has done this before him. IT DOESN’T WORK. Specially for actors who have NO experience projecting their voices and “acting through singing” versus just crying and whispering words…The opening act of “Look Down” where all of the inmates sing the epic work song while slaying rocks with chains, shoots through your spine and sucks you right in in the stage version…this version was just a flat, undramatic scene of lotsa dirty guys getting wet pulling a boat singing a song together…didn’t work for me.
And honestly, it just got worse from there. The first time Russell Crowe opened his mouth I felt like walking out. OUT. I haven’t felt that way since walking out of Space Jam as a kid. One word- PAINFUL. Monotone, flat, miserable, lifeless, and completely devoid of portraying his strong passion and desire for justice…he became a “captain crunch”, thanks Lauren for that reference, annoying, and worthless character, WHY COULDN’T NORM LEWIS DO IT??? His version of “Stars” is undeniably the best ever in my opinion…Russell Crowe just butchered it…BUTCHERED.
The hollywood actors tried their best, the broadway actors brought SOME life to the songs but were stifled by what i’m sure was Hooper’s direction to be “softer” in their execution, which just made them lifeless. Samantha Barks knocks it out of the park normally as Eponine, her portrayal of a love sick streak rat was WAY better than at least Taylor Swift, but even this didn’t sway me.
As much as it annoys me to say this, without Anne Hathaway, this movie would be an utter flop from start to finish. She at least inserts a bit of character development, singing ability, and depth in the beginning…will she win best actress? I mean if we gave it to Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls, she’ll probably get it for this role, but is it as powerful and moving as I expected? No. Fantine’s life SUCKS, no matter who what or how you play this role, girlfriends life is miserable.
I have so many opinions about this movie, this could quickly become the longest, most un-read post of my entire life. Why couldn’t we have Matt Lucas play Thenardier? He’s well known in England and has some recognition from Bridesmaids, and he is PERFECT. Amanda Seyfried, while ok, relied too much on vibrato for vocal strength. Aaron Trivet did an OK job, but Ramin Karimloo is just BETTER. Eddie Redmayne did a solid portrayal of Marius, but sang as if he was struggling with bits of parkinsons, just distracting and could have been avoided if they could have relied on a vocal track…just…ugh.
Lastly, Hugh…I have to give you props. This is a tough tough task to take on, and honeslty…I didn’t HATE you. I didn’t like you, I don’t think Hugh Jackman is a strong enough tenor for this role, but he is a big name, one people recognize, and he made it “work”…
It’s no surprise to me that Hooper wasn’t nominated for best directing, his directing was junky. How many times can you use a close up of an actor singing on screen with them off center…He used the same techniques for the King Speech, let’s try something else. It’s almost as though he didn’t trust his set designers enough to create a beautiful, realistic backdrop for them to film in…
This movie could have been epic, amazing, gut wrenching, but no. It fell flat, flat, flat. I’m spending my day listening to the 25th anniversary concert trying to remind myself of what this most amazing of musicals is supposed to sound like…
Broadway venting and ranting over.