Les Miserables Sweeps Me Away with Epic Songs

26 Feb


So I saw Les Miserables last Thursday, by myself, because apparently there are only so many Twilight movies your fiancé will see with you before he snaps and puts his foot down. I really enjoy seeing movies by myself actually because when I go to the movies with someone else I always have my eye on their reaction throughout the film, hoping the other person will like it/hate it as much as me. As well, I can move around the theatre if some philistine decides that now is the opportune time to flick on their phone or start kicking the back of my chair, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. For those of you who don’t know, I have a curse placed on me. I don’t know why, or how, but someone placed this curse on me but about two or three years ago. I noticed I that wherever I sat in the theatre someone put their feet up on the chair right next to my face or starting kicking my chair intermittently OR, for a special treat, both. You know, my friends, I have a couple little pet peeves but this one takes the goddamn cake.  So usually I try to sit at the back of the theatre, like in the very back row, however that poses another problem. That problem is that when you sit all the way back there you can oversee the entire theatre which means if any of the dummies in the theatre pull out their phone and start jerking off, you bet you can see it. So my situation is rather impossible. Like a child who has to choose which parent to live with after they get divorced. Except maybe slightly less dramatic.

Les Miz happens to be TWO HOURS AND 38 MINUTES LONG so if you were betting that the exact situation I feared was going to happen, you would have won all the field mice ( if that is what you bet.) However, the bright side is that when the old piece of poop starting wailing on the back of my chair I simply moved. And it felt GLORIOUS. And I hope they noticed and will make more of an effort to not have any legs in future. Because if you can’t use your legs properly, i.e keeping them still sitting while sitting, you shouldn’t have any. Again, not being too dramatic here, I hope. On to the review!

I had seen the play version of Les Miz a couple years ago, but I shit you not, I didn’t pay attention through the WHOLE thing, which is quite an accomplishment seeing as I paid to see it and I didn’t pay attention to one second for over two hours. It was a student version. So I didn’t know anything about the story when I sat down and I did really like the story, though it had giant plot holes and some implausible factors in the story. The film is starring Hugh Jackman (Wolverine, Sword Fish) as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe (Gladiator, Cinderella Man) as Javert, Anne Hathaway (Dark Knight Rises) as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia) as Cossette and Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn) as LeHottie. ( Not his actual name) and is directed by Tom Hooper who won an academy award for The King’s Speech. There was a lot of interest around this film because Hooper used a different technique for this musical instead of what they usually do which is pre-record the soundtrack is a studio then have the actor lip sync when they shoot. This time all the actors where mic’d up and singing live. Not sure if using this technique was really that beneficial, but this is an incredibly dramatic and sad musical, so I think it was smart to try it out here as opposed to something like Chicago, which, fun fact, is my favorite movie musical.

Briefly, the movie is about a prisoner, Jean Valjean, who is released from prison after serving twenty years for stealing bread. However Valjean attracts the attention of psychopath warden Javert, who decides to make it his mission in life to screw over Valjean. After Valjean leaves he decides to take a new identity for himself and make a new life. Years later, his life becomes intertwined with a worker in his factory, Fantine, and he again attracts the attention of crazy pants Javert. Also, the French revolution is trying to happen. That’s all you need to know.

So the music in this movie was phenomenal. It’s not surprise that this show has been around (in English) since 1985 and people still love it. The music is so fantastic and haunting and beautiful. The story is really interesting as well; made me think of Love Actually the way the characters’ lives are interconnected.  The sets and costumes are lovely, and there’s some great comedic relief from Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat). I’m not the biggest Anne Hathaway fan but she is unbelievably amazing when she sings I Dreamed a Dream. Not gunna lie, brought a tear to my eye. The song is already great by itself sung by anyone ( see Susan Boyle on UK Idol)  but Hathaway just wrenches your heart right out. She definitely deserved the Oscar she took home Sunday night.

On the down side, this movie is insanely long and feels it. I have this problem with musicals where I just want to know what happens in the story and get tired of people singing incessantly. The film does use songs at a motif throughout the movies to connect similar ideas and concepts, so I can’t really vault it there, but honestly there’s a whole secondary storyline that probably should have ended up in the editing room floor. The interesting thing about Les Miz is that when it was a play, people would get the intermission to rest and stretch their legs. No such luck here. Which is really too bad, because I think intermissions during two and a half hour movies would be great. However, it does seem to take people with a group of friends a while to settle, which is fine when the movie first starts because they have the trailers and commercials to get their shits and giggles out.  My favorite song from this musical would be “Do You Hear the People Sing” and can’t stop listening to it and I’m listening to it even now.  One other little downside to this film would be the plot holes and  implausible elements in the story, but that’s to be expected from a musical I guess.  For instance, it was pretty ridiculous that LeHottie and Cossette fell in love the second they saw each other and that Javert would recognize Vajean again but c’est la vie, as the French say.

Recommendation: Very good, but very long. Catch it on DVD and take your own intermission.


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