Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why Les Miserables will win and why I won't be buying it.

Okay. Hmmm, ahh. Okay.

Do you ever come out of a movie with an analytical essay forming in your head?

First of all, I should say that it was absolutely incredible, stunning, and I loved it. There were moments that I can't even...Anne Hathaway who are you...?

But thoughts.

A few things bothered me. Why a new song? Cute, but unnecessary. I ADORE Helena Bonham Carter and Sascha Baron Cohen but I wanted the Thenardiers to be sillier. They were still hilarious though. And how can you NOT do the Castle on a Cloud reprise with Jean Valjean and little Cozette? Out of all the little musical tweaks (though there weren't many, bless them) that one bothered me most.

My mom had a really hard time with Russell Crow. In the moment he didn't actually bother me, but the more I think about it the more he does. (Though to be fair my opinions are very malleable to my mothers). I don't think he was terrible like my mom does, but looking back the character of Javert doesn't stand out at all and becomes sort of a non-entity, when that is the opposite of how it should be, and how it is in the book. In fact he and Jean Valjean are my two favorite characters in the book, so basically I think they missed out on a lot of potential from bad casting, at least as far as Javert is concerned.

Amanda Seyfried as Cozette was another non-entity for me, but that one doesn't bother me as much because Cozette is a non-entity in the book too. She's just not that interesting, so whatever. However, this is the first time I've liked Marius. In the book I very nearly hated him because he basically just ruins Jean Valjean's life and in the play he's just a weenie. But in this movie? Adorable.

I am not going to be buying the sound recording anytime soon, but that wasn't a big deal to me. I went in not expecting the singing to be Broadway quality but the acting to be tear-your-heart-out, and that was about accurate. Actually the best voice belonged to the Officer who warns the rebellion before they are obliterated. ("Give up! You have no chance.")

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. I...they just prove that divine (yes divine) talent and art is the most gloriously painful experience, painful precisely because it is so beyond normal human experience. Doing Fantine's entire song in one long shot, only one extremely close-up frame? Genius, and very nearly too much to take.

That is why Les Miserables will win, and why I won't probably won't be buying it, at least for a while. It is genius and beautifully directed and filmed and Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman will win ALL THE THINGS. But it's not one I could watch again soon, because it is that hard to take. I wouldn't pull it off the shelf for a fun movie night type movie. But every once in a while you want to be stabbed by something so glorious, so gut-wrenching. Maybe then I'll buy it.


  1. Sarah, I have no chance of ever deconstructing a movie like you do. I am much shallower :) I know my wife wants to see this and The Hobbit right after the holidays so I am sure your words will be ringing in my ears as I watch Russell Crowe!

    To the season!

  2. This is definitely on my to-see list!

  3. I actually want to see it less now that I've read your review. It was sold out on Christmas Day LOL. Maybe I'll wait until I can rent it at Redbox.

  4. I really want to see this movie now! I'll have to find someone to drag along with me. ;)

  5. I finally saw this last night, and yes, Anne Hathaway was incredible. Totally deserved the Oscar.


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