Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Les Miserables Review



I said I wasn't going to be back until tomorrow, but I couldn't not post about Les Mis, because I saw it last night and have to talk about it.

While most girls were listening to N'Sync, I was listening to the Original Broadway Cast Les Miserables Soundtrack.  I've had every single word memorized since I was about 12 years old.  I've seen the stage version more times than I can count, and I even saw it twice in one week.  I bring tissues to the theatre so I can wipe away tears during Bring Him Home and A Little Fall of Rain.  I wear (one of my Les Mis) shirts to bed almost every single night.  I could go on, but I've probably already freaked you out.  Needless to say, I love my Les Miserables, and have extremely high expectations of this show.

I didn't like the movie.  There.  I said it.  

Here are some of my thoughts.

  • I feel like they should have brought in the baddest of the fiercest Broadway stars.  People who have seen or will see Les Mis are going to see it regardless of who's in it.  Did anyone go see this movie because Russell Crowe was Javert?  Didn't think so.  
  • Hugh Jackman was surprisingly very good as Jean Valjean.  The song, Bring Him Home, typically gets either a standing ovation or a 5 minute-long applause in a theatre.  His version wasn't that amazing, but overall he did a great job.
  • I don't need to say anything about Russell Crowe.  You'll have to endure that performance yourself.
  • Anne Hathaway.  Oh....Anne.  I have honestly never liked a performance from you.  Princess Diaries, maybe.  I cringed every time you sang as Fantine.  I'm so sad about this.  And even if your character is dying, I expect you to hit your notes.  No exceptions.
  • I feel like some things just don't need to be shown.  We, as the audience, aren't as dumb as you think.  Leave it to Hollywood to take an off-stage scene from a show and put it right there in our faces.  
  • GOOD THING!!  I don't know where they found the guy who played Marius, but I'm glad they did.  His jaw might have been quivering something fierce, but he was the cutest thing I've seen on screen in a long time.
  • Same thing goes for the cutie who played Enjolras, who, in my opinion, had the best voice in the movie.
  • Amanda Seyfriend.  No.  Oh, no.  Bless your heart.
So here's the thing.  I am always going to love the beautiful story of love and forgiveness that Les Miserables brings.  But, when I walk away from this show, I want to be blown away from hearing the very best voices sing the most beautiful music that has ever been created.  The movie version didn't deliver this because they chose to bring in big names over big voices.

  Maybe my expectations were too high?  I'm not sure. 

Have you seen it?  What did you think?


 

32 comments :

Hallie @ Life:Oceanside said...

I have never seen the play, and I am such a fan of broadway. I know I suck. I am debating to see the movie or wait until it's being shown in one of the major cities!

thanks for the good review;);)

Smallgood said...

I haven't seen it, nor will I see it. I agree with your last statement. If I'm going to see a musical, I want to see people who can actually sing (not just look the part).

TheTinyHeart said...

I really want to see Les Mis and that's disappointing that the singing was not up to par! Maybe I'll wait till it comes out on DVD?

-Sharon
The Tiny Heart

Ashlyn said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I was considering it. I'm not anymore haha. Its too long of a show to sit through and have it not be very good :(

rooth said...

Ashley, my sister and I saw the play many Christmases ago and were pretty curious to see how the movie turned out, particularly since it has been made so many times. I don't think I'll be watching it in the theaters - didn't hear that great of things about it either.

Erin said...

So, Eddie Redmayne is kind of a humongous crush of mine. And for that reason alone, I'd probably go see Les Mis. And I have to break your heart a bit here, but I don't like musicals. With one exception: The Phantom of the Opera. That's the only musical soundtrack I would listen to, and the only performance I didn't cry in the middle of because I was so bored (this happened with Cats and my mom refused to take me home, mean.)

But all the hype Les Mis is getting is making me think I need to see it just to see it, you know? There was a review of it on CBS Sunday Morning this week that said the director had all the actors sing their parts live, rather than record them and then lip-sync during filming. Only he (the director) never let you forget that fact, zooming in so much on everyone's faces and driving the point home as hard as possible. That kind of self-flattery strikes me as odd.

Helene said...

i have heard mixed reviews, but I still want to see it! i love the play, but I will set my expectations low!

Niki Caron said...

I can't wait to see it! I feel like I'm going to have a similar opinion though, because I've seen the Broadway version so many times and love it so, so much! I agree that fans of the musical will see it no matter who is in it, so they should bring in the broadway cast! I really want to be blown away by the music, because that's so much of what I love about it!

still being [molly] said...

thank you SO much for your honest review! i want to see it for sure, but it's good to go into it with the bar set low :) hehehehe

Emily said...

So sad that it isn't amazing. I have heard that a few times :( Thanks for the review!

creamyclothes.blogspot.com

helen said...

i LOVE les mis too, and my husband and i had been waiting for MONTHS for the movie. my expectations were too high, i think, because i totally walked away feeling like they should have picked better singers. i felt russell crowe was terrible, and hugh jackman also did a good job overall, although i was not impressed at all by his rendition of "bring me home." i kept comparing the movie to all the staged versions i've seen, but i suppose that's not really fair. the movie wasn't terrible, but it was not as memorable as i had hoped.

Jenny @ Spry On The Wall said...

I didn't have high hopes and wasn't planning on seeing it at all (I've seen it on stage and that was enough for me). Last weeks Entertainment Weekly review pretty much said the same thing you said so you are in good company. Some things are better left on the stage. I saw it also mentioned that someone has already picked up the movie rights for Wicked and I just can't imagine how that will translate at all because its such a magical stage show. Ugh.

Emmy said...

I haven't seen it yet but do want too. I love love the Broadway version and have seen it three times so I have a feeling I might leave it feeling a bit like you.

Head to Toe Chic said...

I haven't seen the play before but i was tempted to see the movie. Thats sad it wasn't that great :(

xo,
Angela

Pamela said...

I have been dying to see it! I am a huge fan of the play as well so I am very interested as I have heard mixed reviews!

JP Lord said...

We were meant to be friends. I LOVE Les Mes, I've seen it a dozen times, eight on broadway. I am crushed that the movie isn't up to par. I had a feeling and haven't had the chance to see it yet...obviously I still have to but at least now I won't hold my breath!
Thanks for the heads up!
Xxxx

Sheena Rae said...

I haven't seen it, but I do know the disappointment of having a movie not be as good as you expected! :(
Thanks for stopping by!

Zhanna Frid said...

This makes me so sad because I loved it on Broadway!!
The shows that I love to watch are Shameless, How I met your mother, revenge and once upon a time. Do you have any show recommendations?
XO
Zhanna
www.lifeandbows.com

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

Oh girl, I have loved Les Mis since I was a little girl too (though I also loved N'Sync, haha). I grew up on musicals and that is one of my favs! I haven't seen the movie yet because my siblings and I are planning to see it together this weekend (we are all huge Les Mis fans). Sorry it wasn't the best ever... I'm hoping my love for Les Mis will make it worth seeing!

Sabrina said...

The first thing I thought when I saw the commercial for the movie was, "...Seyfried and Jackman can sing?" Apparently not.

Sincerely,
Sabrina

carrieburke said...

I've been so sceptical about going to see the movie! I absolutely love the Broadway show as well and usually when they make a Broadway show into a movie, I don't like it. There's just something different about seeing a show live and in the moment and then seeing it being done as a movie where you know they did multiple takes and the singing and choreography isn't live. But I have to go see it just because of the hype around it! And I love the actor who plays Marius (Eddie Redmayne)!

Carrie

Mills said...

I wasn't sure if I wanted to see it but def not now. Thank you for saving me $12!

Kayla Peveler said...

I agree, they definitely could have found better voices, Russell Crowe does not, I repeat, does not sing. Ha! But I will say, Hugh Jackman rocked it. I loved him! Overall... I loved it :)

I still can't wait to see the musical though. The book will always be my favorite :)

Katie said...

I loved Les Mis as a kid--I used to have the Broadway soundtrack, a shirt with the iconic Cosette on the front, I even have a Cosette doll. I have been apprehensive about the movie because I did not want anything to taint the play experience. I will probably still see it, but I might wait for Netflix. EW did not give it a good review.

Katie Did What said...

THANK YOU for this review!!! As a fellow Les Miz freak (there, I said it) I have been jumping at the bit to see this movie! Haven't yet, but will be very soon, and I'm definitely going to go into it with not-as-high-hopes as I would have before reading your review. So, thanks Ashley! ;)

xo

Misty said...

Oh that's a bummer. But I absolutely LOVED it! And Anne Hathaway brought me to tears with her performance. I looked at my husband and whispered "Oscar." Russell Crowe looked like Javert, but sang like Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia. UGH.

Dara said...

sorry to disagree, but I loved it! I only saw the stage performance twice, but I too knew the soundtrack by heart at age 12. problem is I didn't really understand critical parts of the show - like that bring him home was a prayer for example. the movie gave me so much clarity, plus I cried in tons of places! I'm going to write all this on my blog soon actually!

Kristen said...

I am so sad that you didn't like it! I went expecting it to be completely different from the stage performance so it wasn't a let down for me. I did notice that my favorites on stage (One Day More and Bring Him Home) where definitely not my favorites in the movie. However, I really did like the close ups on the actors while they sung...that is the one thing that the movie can do that the stage cannot and I actually liked the frailty and emotionally charged performances they were able to do because of it. But I totally agree that on stage, you sing it out and hit every single note - no exceptions! Stage acting and film acting are so different! Although I also totally agree that ALL of the off stage stuff should have been left out...I hated having it in my face...ew and awkward!!

Daliene said...

I was worried about this. I do not like Amanda S. voice at all so I am prepared to dislike her scenes. lol Luckily they cast the hottie opposite of her. :) I agree that they should have used amazing singers. They would have become stars. Maybe kept Hugh J. for a big name since he does have stage cred.

Sam M said...

I've never been a huge fan of Les Mis, but I've seen it quite a few times. I agree, they should have picked better people. I think a lot of people liked anne hathaway in it, because they had such low expectations, but that doesn't mean she was amazing in it. I love the girl who played eponine, and I agree both about marcius and enjolras, they were both great.

Little Rosalie said...

I may be the only twenty-one year old currently living who knows every single word of every single song! The first month my husband and I started dating he found a les mis tee shirt for me: WE WERE MEANT TO BE! It was followed shortly by the original london cast on vinyl.

Glad to read your review before I go tomorrow! I respect your lack of sugar coating. (:

Elisabeth @ Bella said...

i loved the movie but i am right there with you on the unneeded scene - seriously. we can catch a hint. no need for that. nasty.

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