Movie News

Capone will never stop singing the praises of the emotionally vibrant and draining LES MISÉRABLES!!!

Published at: Dec. 28, 2012, 1:25 a.m. CST

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

It's difficult to wrap my brain around the idea that some people could walk out of this latest adaptation of Victor Hugo's LES MISÉRABLES—the first that attempts to transform the musical/opera (with book by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, and lyrics from Herbert Kretzmer) into film — and complain about there being too many close-ups. Did they watch the movie with their ears plugged? Of course I noticed that director Tom Hooper (THE KING'S SPEECH) seems to favor bringing the camera in rather close proximity to his actors on occasion, but what I got out of that was proof positive that all of the vocals in this outstanding production were recorded live (rather than lip synched). LES MISÉRABLES is a sweeping, deeply emotional display, featuring great mountains of quite believable suffering. And if you see it and possess a beating heart, you will inevitably weep openly more than once. And you should embrace that experience with your whole body.

I saw the stage production of LES MIS when I was in college. I was sitting about as far back as you could sit in an immense theater in Chicago, and while I could hear the words clearly, I couldn't see a thing. I went with a female classmate who knew the music backwards and forwards, although she'd never seen the show prior to that night. I enjoyed the show, but felt no compulsion to seek out the soundtrack or see it again. And I realized that when you can't clearly see the faces of the actors, it's sometimes tough to keep the characters straight. But compared to that expansive staging, Hooper's film version makes the stage show seem like a flea circus. The scope of the big-screen LES MISÉRABLES feels massive, and it suits the powerful songs and themes of love, obsession and revolution.

The 19th-century story begins with the release of the prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) from prison after years in captivity for stealing bread for his starving loved ones. He has been under the watchful eye of the policeman Javert (Russell Crowe), who vows to continue watching him during his parole, knowing full well Valjean will not be able to find work and will likely slip up and end back in jail. But Valjean breaks parole and begins a new life in another town where he becomes a wealthy factory owner and much-loved local mayor. When one of his workers, a woman named Fantine (Anne Hathaway) is fired for hiding the fact that she has a young daughter, Cosette, she is forced into prostitution so she can continue to send money for the girl's care. Valjean agrees to look after Cosette, but is forced to go back into hiding with Javert hot on his heels.

Jumping ahead to post-French Revolution, the nation is on the brink of the June Rebellion, one of the leaders of which is Marius (Eddie Redmayne), who just happens to spot and fall instantly in love with the now grown-up Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). Meanwhile, watching Marius from afar is Éponine (the magnetic Samantha Barks, the film's sole cast member who actually performed her role onstage as well). In other corners of this conflict, the world remains the same as Javert continues to pursue Valjean for no reason other than his sheer willpower won't allow him to do anything else. I know I'm skipping over major plot elements, but that's probably more than you need to know going in. Needless to say the film doesn't skimp on story or music.

As mentioned earlier, all of the vocals were recorded live, and the result allows for more immediate and emotionally raw performances from everyone. This is no more evident than watching Hathaway's total on-screen meltdown singing "I Dreamed a Dream" through rivers of tears. The impact it had on me was devastating. It helps that everyone sings so well in LES MISÉRABLES, with some variations that are made up for by great acting. Although his singing voice is a little rough, it seems appropriate that Crowe sound that way. I also especially liked the way Seyfriend and Redmayne seem to share similar old-timey vocal styles, the kind you might hear singing Cole Porter tunes in the '30s or '40s. A young couple in love should sound like they have their own language.

The story's rare instances of levity come courtesy of Mr. and Madame Thénardier (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter) as the innkeepers who look after Cosette when she's a little girl until Valjean comes to rescue her. And it goes without saying that Barks' rendering of "On My Own" is simply stellar, although it rightfully feels smaller and more forlorn than what might be required on stage.

Only knowing a couple of the songs well, I went into LES MISÉRABLES not sure what I'd be seeing and feeling completely floored by the overwhelming emotion it drew out of me. Technically, the show is an opera since every word is sung (although there are a few tuneless words that come through in the film version), and if it seems strange at first, you get used to it (great singing makes the adjustment easier). Sure, director Hooper makes a few odd camera choices throughout, but nothing can take away from the sheer weight and substance of the source material in the hands (and throats) of some truly gifted performers.

-- Steve Prokopy
"Capone"
capone@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:34 a.m. CST

    To quote Tracey Morgan: *gurkle gurkle gurkle*

    by Boofalicious Washington

    Smokin' pink cigars much, Capone?

  • just because a bunch of dumb females go to see a musical doesn't mean it's good. This will go the way of Moulin Rouge and Chicago. Movies that got all this hype, and that is completely forgotten with in a year or two.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:37 a.m. CST

    Why don't you have some cock with your Les Miserables

    by Jt

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:54 a.m. CST

    CAPONE: Man with a deadline

    by CRISPIN_GLOVERS_ACID_FLASHBACK

    You know what they'll call you? Fastest review poster in the Midwest.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Loved it

    by eveelcapitalist

    But I did have a problem with the camera work. Too many close-ups with long lenses so it seemed 90% of the screen in any one shot was always out of focus. I mean I get *why* it was done that way (to push the audience to focus where Hooper wants them to focus) but too often the actor isn't still long enough for it to work, rocking back and forth and coming in and out of focus. It was distracting at times. Otherwise I loved the hell out of the movie. I predict it wins most of the major awards save for the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director but only because Hooper already won them so recently.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:50 a.m. CST

    You closed minded idiots

    by djscott95

    I am not female, nor am I a homosexual male. I am a fan of great music of all kinds, and therefore love the music in Les Miserables. That said, I was dissapointed in the film, and not because of the closeups, or anything else that Hooper did. I was dissapointed because the film tried so hard to sell the realism of the story that it didn't sell the best thing about this interpretation of Les Miserables... The Music. Too many of the musical numbers fall flat, mostly because of miscasting (looking at you Crowe) and the need to "tone down" the operatic quality of the score to sell something real. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and that was dissapointing. The site is celebrating it because it is an important film, and a good one, so you closed-minded musical haters can FUCK RIGHT OFF. (and btw, people still watch and talk about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. You don't because you're too busy shoving hobbit figurines up your ass, but that's your problem, not the rest of the worlds.)

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST

    You closed minded idiots

    by djscott95

    I am not female, nor am I a homosexual male. I am a fan of great music of all kinds, and therefore love the music in Les Miserables. That said, I was dissapointed in the film, and not because of the closeups, or anything else that Hooper did. I was dissapointed because the film tried so hard to sell the realism of the story that it didn't sell the best thing about this interpretation of Les Miserables... The Music. Too many of the musical numbers fall flat, mostly because of miscasting (looking at you Crowe) and the need to "tone down" the operatic quality of the score to sell something real. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and that was dissapointing. The site is celebrating it because it is an important film, and a good one, so you closed-minded musical haters can FUCK RIGHT OFF. (and btw, people still watch and talk about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. You don't because you're too busy shoving hobbit figurines up your ass, but that's your problem, not the rest of the worlds.)

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST

    You closed minded idiots

    by djscott95

    I am not female, nor am I a homosexual male. I am a fan of great music of all kinds, and therefore love the music in Les Miserables. That said, I was dissapointed in the film, and not because of the closeups, or anything else that Hooper did. I was dissapointed because the film tried so hard to sell the realism of the story that it didn't sell the best thing about this interpretation of Les Miserables... The Music. Too many of the musical numbers fall flat, mostly because of miscasting (looking at you Crowe) and the need to "tone down" the operatic quality of the score to sell something real. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and that was dissapointing. The site is celebrating it because it is an important film, and a good one, so you closed-minded musical haters can FUCK RIGHT OFF. (and btw, people still watch and talk about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. You don't because you're too busy shoving hobbit figurines up your ass, but that's your problem, not the rest of the worlds.)

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST

    You closed minded idiots

    by djscott95

    I am not female, nor am I a homosexual male. I am a fan of great music of all kinds, and therefore love the music in Les Miserables. That said, I was dissapointed in the film, and not because of the closeups, or anything else that Hooper did. I was dissapointed because the film tried so hard to sell the realism of the story that it didn't sell the best thing about this interpretation of Les Miserables... The Music. Too many of the musical numbers fall flat, mostly because of miscasting (looking at you Crowe) and the need to "tone down" the operatic quality of the score to sell something real. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and that was dissapointing. The site is celebrating it because it is an important film, and a good one, so you closed-minded musical haters can FUCK RIGHT OFF. (and btw, people still watch and talk about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. You don't because you're too busy shoving hobbit figurines up your ass, but that's your problem, not the rest of the worlds.)

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:52 a.m. CST

    You closed minded idiots

    by djscott95

    I am not female, nor am I a homosexual male. I am a fan of great music of all kinds, and therefore love the music in Les Miserables. That said, I was dissapointed in the film, and not because of the closeups, or anything else that Hooper did. I was dissapointed because the film tried so hard to sell the realism of the story that it didn't sell the best thing about this interpretation of Les Miserables... The Music. Too many of the musical numbers fall flat, mostly because of miscasting (looking at you Crowe) and the need to "tone down" the operatic quality of the score to sell something real. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and that was dissapointing. The site is celebrating it because it is an important film, and a good one, so you closed-minded musical haters can FUCK RIGHT OFF. (and btw, people still watch and talk about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. You don't because you're too busy shoving hobbit figurines up your ass, but that's your problem, not the rest of the worlds.)

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:53 a.m. CST

    You closed minded idiots

    by djscott95

    I am not female, nor am I a homosexual male. I am a fan of great music of all kinds, and therefore love the music in Les Miserables. That said, I was dissapointed in the film, and not because of the closeups, or anything else that Hooper did. I was dissapointed because the film tried so hard to sell the realism of the story that it didn't sell the best thing about this interpretation of Les Miserables... The Music. Too many of the musical numbers fall flat, mostly because of miscasting (looking at you Crowe) and the need to "tone down" the operatic quality of the score to sell something real. It's not bad, but it's not great either, and that was dissapointing. The site is celebrating it because it is an important film, and a good one, so you closed-minded musical haters can FUCK RIGHT OFF. (and btw, people still watch and talk about Chicago and Moulin Rouge. You don't because you're too busy shoving hobbit figurines up your ass, but that's your problem, not the rest of the worlds.)

  • Or, maybe, 'Javert: Bread Cop'. 'Javert: Loaf Investigator'. Seriously, Javert, get a proper fucking job instead of hounding guys for stealing bread. You sound like a fuckpot of the highest order.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 5:13 a.m. CST

    You're wrong!

    by buggerbugger

    I'm fully onboard with djscott95 although, admittedly, it took the fifth post to really sell it to me.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 5:13 a.m. CST

    Don't think i'll be going

    by Mick

    So no more Russell Crowing todaaaay

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 6:04 a.m. CST

    Capone, I had the same reaction.

    by Fawst

    The only difference is I've never seen it on stage. I'm glad I wasn't the only one to feel the way I did about it: emotionally drained.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Love reading AICN talkbacks on this

    by John Brown

    As dozens of sexually repressed and emotionally stunted men express their need to feel superior by bashing not only "Les Mis," but the musical genre in general. Comments about "females and gay men" crack me up, because they reveal far more about the one posting than the audience for these films. My wife and I love "Les Mis and all sorts of musicals, as do many of our friends, both gay and straight, single and attached. And I'm mature and open-minded enough to simply acknowledge that musicals aren't for everyone without feeling threatened by them in some sort of mysogynistic and homophobic ego trip. So keep bashing, children. You amuse me greatly.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Will see it, but as a rental.

    by Keith

    Learned my lesson with the "Phantom" movie a few years back.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Meh. It's a musical so you couldn't drag me to see this on pain of death.

    by Orbots Commander

    For me, the only times musicals work is in animated films or fantasy kids' movies like Disney's Mary Poppins or Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder. Grease? Ugh, like having a root canal.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Also good for Dudes of Only Daughters (aka Doods)

    by Ookla_the_Mok

    Capone, thanks for the affirmation, esp. since you had only a passing knowledge of the music. Our family lives and breathes Les Miz (I've seen it four times, starting way back in London in 1989). As the credits rolled and I looked down the row at my wife and daughters, I thought "Clean up in aisle nine, please. Better bring a mop" We cried buckets. Simply beautiful. I think some people struggle with how overtly emotional (and dare I say it, Christian) this story is. We here at AICN are mostly cynics and this story challenges us to the core. Or maybe folks just don't like singing...

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Was this the same movie?

    by Martin

    I am confused by this site and the films they seem to like. They basically came in their pants for the average The Avengers but hated TDKR Loved John Carter but weren't too impressed with Skyfall and now they loved this piece of shit. Outside of Hathway this movie was horrible. Russel Crowe channeled Pierce mama mia Brosnan. The annoying cockney kid in France death scene was one of the few one could be happy with...the only other was Crowes because you knew that meant he was gone for good. Come on AICN get your shit together

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    The kid who played Gavroche deserves an Oscar nomination

    by SifoDyasJr

    He probably won't get nominated since there are so many bigger names that the studio will push in the supporting actor category like Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Russell Crowe (all deservedly so), but that kid completely stole every scene he was in. I went into Les Mis expecting to like it a lot, since I've always loved the stage version, and even with those high expectations, it completely blew me away. Those complaining about the imperfect and raw vocals aren't getting that it's SUPPOSED to be imperfect and raw. It's acting and singing fused as one. Hands down, the most emotional experience I've ever had in a movie theater ever.

  • Let's see, Oscar material that had wide releases, there's Les Miserables, Life of Pi, The Master, Killer Joe, Argo, Cloud Atlas, Zero Dark Thirty, Lilcoln, Holy Motors, Django Unchained, Moonrise Kingdom - plus technical awards for The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and The Hobbit... There are over 10 films that can get nominations and I see no favorites... Can anyone name a year with so many of these films?

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 10:53 a.m. CST

    covjack...

    by Fish Tank

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 10:58 a.m. CST

    covjack - "Dozens" of men????

    by Fish Tank

    Hunh? One dozen? Two dozen? Three dozen? So far only one up top that repeat posted, and maybe another or two, but don't generalize yet. Most TalkBackers will say the movie sucks simply because it sucks and they have problems with the camera work (or whatever) - not because of the genre.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Finally...

    by thepoohguy

    I was wondering if anyone who wrote on this site ever left their house to go see real theater. Was this movie of the caliber of My Fair Lady? No. However it was LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than Phantom of the Opera (which I hold Gerard Butler completely to blame as he has one of the worst singing voices imaginable). Anne's performance was hands down the most incredible I've seen on the screen in a long time for such a short amount of screen time. Jackman and Crowe are nowhere near the atrocity that Butler was in Phantom, with Crowe being the lesser of the two. My biggest issues were: 1. At times they were both too nasally when they were singing. 2. Crowe and or Hooper didn't understand the source material well enough to show how Javert basically becomes "crazy" because he doesn't understand the concept of redemption through grace, only works (probably too Christian for some on this site). 3. When Jackman sang Bring Him Home, it felt like nails on a chalkboard as he tried to do it too full voice instead of falsetto with a light airy sound. All in all, it was a great adaptation. I've seen worse versions on stage, and I've seen better. The vocal quality wasn't going to surpass the 10th anniversary edition (which I think is far superior to the 25th). Finally, it was a great nod to the original production to have Colm playing the Bishop, and seeing him again at the end. That part was well played. Oh, and for the record, yes I cried, yes I'm a man, no I'm not gay.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 11:40 a.m. CST

    I've seen the film and stage musical--both with my wife.

    by tomandshell

    Although confirming one's heterosexuality seems like a strange prerequisite to a conversation about Les Miserables. Stars, Bring Him Home and Master of the House are usually my three favorite songs, and they all fell a bit flat for me in the film. Dog Eat Dog and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables are two of my least favorite songs--one got cut out, while the other ended up being one of my two favorite moments in the film, thanks to the performance of Eddie Redmayne. Other parts were shortened/edited/cut (the attack at Rue Plumet, the cafe) moved around (Do You Hear the People Sing) or both (the intro to On My Own) in a way that was jarring because of my familiarity with the music. However, I Dreamed a Dream should always be performed in the new location where Fantine is at her lowest. I didn't think it was possible for anybody to take a song that has been done to death and give us the definitive version after 35 years, but that's what Anne Hathaway did. I've never been a fan, but she stole the show with her rendition of that song, overcoming my skepticism because of the overhyping and dislike for the actress. I have previously enjoyed Eponine's presence at Valjean's death alongside Fantine (and her harmonies), but I didn't miss her in the film. Her prominence was really reduced anyway, going from a shared female lead on stage to a supporting part on film, probably because they couldn't/didn't get a celebrity for the part. Anyway, Eponine didn't really belong there and it would have produced a "who are you, ghost?" moment like Mark Hamill seeing Hayden at the end of ROTJ 2.0. Having Fantine and then the Bishop (Colm!) lead him to the others worked for the film. There were parts that surpassed the stage experience and parts that fell short. Biggest disappointment was Bring Him Home, biggest surprise was Empty Chairs. In the end, it was worth seeing. Now, in the words of Michael McKean in Clue, "I'm going to go home and sleep with my wife."

  • I disagree sir. The Phantom is suppossed to sound something like an "atrocity" and Butler did that quite nicely.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Hathaway.

    by Todaysfate

    I would like to see her perform that live at the oscars. Tears and all. That would be something.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Don't give djscott95 shite for re-posting

    by Logan_1973

    Like none of you guys ever accidently double or triple posted here.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 12:13 p.m. CST

    I don't like musicals.

    by sundancekeed

    Has nothing to do with sexual orientation. I simply don't care for Broadway style show tunes. Perfect example--Tommy, The Movie. I liked the true rock numbers but the Ann Margaret/Oliver Reed stuff left me cold. Just don't appreciate that theatre style of music.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Some Thoughts on Les Miserables

    by flaggdrama

    Some Thoughts on the film Les Miserables: MAJOR SPOILERS WITHIN!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!! OK, I know that opinions have been very split on the film adaptation of the much-beloved musical Les Miserables. People I respect immensely are divided on both sides of the debate on the merits/detriments of the film. I have seen the musical 20+ times in 3 countries on 2 continents. I have also directed a production of the show, so I do have a fair understanding of Les Miserables. My personal opinion is that it is an excellent film, but it is NOT the play. It is an adaptation and theatre fans going to see the film expecting the musical may be disappointed. They are 2 different experiences entirely, yet they share a common source material, plot, characters, themes, and musical numbers. Again, while similar, they are 2 vastly different experiences. What people love seeing onstage, they may detest on the screen and vice versa, but to compare the 2 does both a major disservice. That being said, I would like to offer my 2 cents on the film and I will try, repeat, try not to compare the film to the play. Caveat----I thought Tom Hooper's The King's Speech was like a bloated episode of Masterpiece Theatre and, while I found it well-acted, did not think it deserved the accolades it received. I compared it to Chariots of Fire in that respect. I loved Hooper's The Damned United, however, and found his take on Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect 6 to be edgy and redefining. Hooper's direction in Les Miserables was extremely solid and well-conceived. I thought he did a great job extracting the performances from his leads. His choices re: cinematography were SUPERB as I loved the swooping camera shots, the overhead shots and his near-documentary style at the Barricades. Never before have I seen or felt the intensity of the Barricades in such a way. I think the choice to have the cast sing live was BRILLIANT as it allows for genuine, in-the-moment singing, even though it is warts and all. The squalor and destitute nature of many of the characters comes through a combination of the costuming, scenery, and live singing. The actors are sometimes off-key or muffled, spittle is evident, breaths are heard and all of this adds to the verisimilitude of the piece. As for the performances/singing of the leads: Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) - Mostly excellent and his performance gets better as the film goes on. Many have griped that his interpretation of the showstopping "Bring Him Home" is poor, but I disagree. Yes, he does not hit the angelic high notes which strips the song of its prayer-like nature, but in choosing to sing it in a lower register, he makes it more of a plea, a simple request, perhaps one that he knows is done in futility. There is almost anger emanating in his words as he is unsure if his words might be falling on deaf ears. This is a choice on the actor's part and I think it is quite courageous because it is a true reinvention of the song. Anne Hathaway (Fantine) - Superb and definitely warranting a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. I have never felt the disillusionment, pain, and indignity until I heard Hathaway sing "I Dreamed a Dream." Words cannot give this performance justice. Eddie Redmayne (Marius) - I appreciated the way in which Redmayne made this character more than a lovestruck schoolboy and felt his pain and despair during "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." He fleshed out a character I always found underwritten. Samantha Barks (Eponine) - She, like Anne Hathaway's Fantine, blew me away. I loved her interpretation of "On My Own" as well as the rejiggering of the song's placement in the story. A relative unknown in the USA, she perfectly embodied the character's unrequited love for Marius and ultimate realization that, although "he was never mine," she is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for him. <Begin digression> That being said, I am so happy that the filmmakers jettisoned Marius' inane comment of "There's something wet upon your hair.....Oh God, it's everywhere!" That always struck me as a cringeworthy moment......<End digression> Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) - He made the character, one who oftentimes seems like a refugee from Oliver, much more multidimensional. He loses a lot of the "cuteness" that plagues this character and brings much more depth, IMHO. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (The Thenardiers) - I wish they had brought more menace to their roles. They are cartoony characters to begin with, but I did not ever find them to be dangerous When I first heard of their being cast in these roles, I rejoiced, thinking that they would really capture the dark souls of these character. Instead, they just came off as caricatures. "Master of the House," while on the surface is rousing and upbeat, has the potential to be dark and Sweeney Todd-esque, but I felt that these 2 very talented actors only skimmed the surface of these characters. Strangely, both of these very talented actors appeared in Tim Burton's adaptation of Sweeney Todd. Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) - Considered by many (myself included) to be the most underwritten character in the original play, I did not find much evidence in the film to change that assessment. She is sweet, naive, pretty, and sings well, but there is only so much that can be done with this character, IMHO. Aaron Tveit (Enjolras) - He played the role as written and, while he has a very solid voice, did not reinterpret the character very much. Flowing hair.....check.......reddish vest.......check.........sincere belief in the cause......check. MAJOR props for his death scene, however. I loved the choices there. ......and onto the elephant in the room Russell Crowe (Javert) - Yes, there are times when is singing is laughably off-key or when he is nearly singing in a monotone, but he gets an A+ for effort. His voice actually grew on me as the film progressed. Some scenes, "The Confrontation," for example, I thought he nailed while others (pretty much all of them) needed varying degrees of work. There are moments, simply moments, within songs such as "Stars" and "Javert's Suicide" that are slam dunks, but sadly the songs as a whole do not work with his voice. Rather than beat a dead horse, suffice to say, that Crowe's voice in this is an acquired taste but he throws his all into the character and brings a world-weariness to the character simply through his eyes which emote a great deal. His suicide is brilliant as the sickening crunch of his body slamming into the concrete banks of the Seine is VERY vivid! As I said earlier, I would try not to compare the film to the musical, if possible. I have to say the following, though----I do like several of the changes that were made in the adaptation, i.e. changing the order of some of the songs, cutting some ("Dog Eat Dog," I am looking at you), closing plot holes (If the authorities knew of Valjean's number---24601---and they erroneously believed they caught him ["Who Am I?"] why didn't they compare the tattoos to vindicate the man they captured), and simplifying transitions between scenes. That was a very long, wordy sentence. Sorry. I do, however, think the inclusion of the song "Suddenly" is a pandering gesture for an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. It is completely superfluous and served as a quick bathroom break for many in attendance at the screening I attended. Also, the shifting of "Do You Hear the People Sing" to the funeral procession works very well visually, but the song follows on the heels of "One Day More." Both of these songs are rousing, near full-company numbers, so in moving the placement I think it taps into the same emotions in the audience. I love both songs, but question their adjacent placement in the film. Yes, the play worked the way it was structured (for the most part) as does the film (for the most part). These are simply my thoughts and I welcome others'.....please comment!

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST

    flaggdrama..."He fleshed out a character..."

    by Fish Tank

    Nice. Few people use that properly (saying flushed instead). It's a reference to anatomical sketching, where one would start with the bones, and then "flesh out" the character by adding meat. Again - well done ;-)

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Musical/Opera - Thanks for calling it like it is.

    by tailhook

    Most people try to pass off a Talksical as simply a movie musical, which it surely is not. Its good that people know going in, or can absolutely avoid it.. that this garbage is simply talking music. Hardly worth noting and hopefully they have the good sense not to make this type of trash again.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Thank you......

    by flaggdrama

    Fish Tank!

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:06 p.m. CST

    The Phantom is suppossed to sound something like an "atrocity"

    by thepoohguy

    Really? He is the Angel of Music who has been giving voice lessons to Christine which is why she can sing so beautifully. I would never go to a voice coach that sounded like an atrocity. Maybe that's what Gerard Butler did. It would explain a lot.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:10 p.m. CST

    fish tank

    by John Brown

    There's more than one Les Mis talkback.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:13 p.m. CST

    flaggdrama - Nice write up

    by thepoohguy

    The one place we disagree is Bring Him Home. It's a prayer not a plea. After all, the first line is "God on high, hear my prayer." Don't get me wrong. There is a lot of pleading in it. Toward the end "if I die, let me die" which should not be light and airy. For me, it was the one part of the whole thing where I thought it was the wrong choice from a vocal standpoint. However, I think on stage it works better as Valjean is taking the first watch and it's a huge spotlight song with him usually kneeling over Marius. Maybe in the long run, I felt that Hooper didn't seem to give it the intimacy I usually feel when seeing the show live. All in all, an excellent write up.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 1:54 p.m. CST

    For those in between..

    by DrPhilHartman

    I think that people who (1) are only casually familiar with the musical/play/opera, (2) are open to watching musicals, and (3) are OK tearing up (or perhaps sobbing) in public will enjoy it most. That is my category and I was blown away. I don't have a critic's ear for voices and I didn't notice every little plot change. In fact, this was the first time I caught all of the plot points since I had only previously seen it from the nosebleeds far from the stage. At my showing I could tell many viewers did not know what we coming. Some were literally sitting on the edge of their seats with tension. I think this movie will bring many new fans to Les Mis. If you hate musicals or emotions don't see it. But don't trash it either. And now, as a thank you to the readers of AICN who have given me hours of laughs (the greatest of all time of which was "Angelina Jolie's real tits are fake"), here is a guide to whether you will enjoy this movie. If you answer yes to a few of these, give the movie a shot. 1. Are you old enough to have experienced real grief? 2. Do you hug your parents for real or do you just do those shoulder grab bro hugs? 3. Have you ever been in love? 4. Do you know what unrequited means? 5. Does anyone in the world rely on you? 6. Have you ever gone to the movies alone? 7. Do you like stories where people fight "the man"? 8. Do you own a sweater? 9. Are you OK with French people speaking with Cockney accents?

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2 p.m. CST

    The problem with this adaptation of Les Miz

    by Dustin Geisler

    It tries to trick itself into being a play instead of a film. This film was just full of lost potential from a directing point of view. Done well, a musical should have lots of bombastic choruses and panoramic scenes. Les Miserables was three hours long, and it had almost none. I felt like Tom Hooper most of the time was just too focused on showing off that his actors didn't need to lip sync. Les Miserables is three long hours of staring up someone's nose while they sing in your face. The viewer is constantly forced to focus on the little details of every scene and almost never gets to see the big picture. Lots of strong performances, especially the wonderful Anne Hathaway, but lacks composition. I would not consider this one of the best of the year if you paid me to.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2:14 p.m. CST

    djscott95 & flaggdrama.

    by gabbygall

    Djscott - love your response to the automatic haters here - I am a straight married guy who loves musicals, in-particular Les Mis - I have been stoked for months waiting for this to be released and only have a few weeks to go (11th Jan in the UK). Also agree those haters are the same ones who will whinge and whine when the latest superhero flick isn't upto the vision they have in their heads, the same one they have when playing with their action figures/collectibles/call them what you will.. Flaggdrama - from your write up I have no reason at all to not believe you once directed a production of Les Mis - either that or you are a massively huge fan and have the characters well and truly sussed - I was always going to view this as a separate entity to the play and not go in with any preconceptions (my Les Mis experience is three times at the London with three different Jean Valjeans - Alfie Boe being a particular favourite) - and like the the musical, I always expected the leads to bring something a little different to the table each time. I have downloaded the OST and enjoyed what I have heard - although I was glad I was forewarned about the more `spoken` and `raw` style of delivery. Good posts guys.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Baz Lurhman is married to a woman...

    by Gary Makin

    Just sayin'.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Les Miserable'

    by Norman Colson

    Hmmm ive always been interested in seeing this musical on broadway they went in with the advertising back in the 90's but that was a long time ago, I mean I ished blockbuster video was still around so I could rent it or I could just wait for the netflix and watch it then. not worth the waste of money.... Now cats deserved a fucking movie. rum tum tiger and all!lol

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST

    ThePoohGuy

    by flaggdrama

    Thank you for your kind words......re: "Bring Him Home," I think that what begins as a prayer turns into an urgent, maybe angry, plea.....but again, being able to have differing opinions is what makes life great! thanks again!

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 2:43 p.m. CST

    You don't have to suck cock to enjoy a musical.

    by Smerdyakov

    You just have to suck cock to get your musical produced.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 3:20 p.m. CST

    justusliebig --- I answered 'yes; to most of your questions but

    by ShavedLeatherPig

    the movie was still a hollow, soul-less, sucralose-infested exercise in pretentious neo-faggotry ! I cried a couple times during "Warrior" but during this one - - - I only farted.

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    If you've ever fantasized about...

    by Paul Macadom

    ... sitting in a broom cupboard with a hammy Hugh Jackman screaming in your face - this is the movie for you. Those looking for a well crafted, well performed, sweeping epic should look elsewhere. Horrible film.

  • it exceeded all my expectations. Exceptional---and I've seen the musical more than a dozen times. Bravo!

  • Dec. 28, 2012, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Jumping ahead to post-French Revolution?

    by berserkrl

    It BEGINS post-French Revolution. 1815.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Homos love Musicals

    by Nabster

    And men tend to hate them. Just a fact.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 5:08 a.m. CST

    and nabster is a slur for "human gay horse fucker" in Venezuelan.

    by Optimus Prime

    Which is not very often used since most horses clench up when they hear the term "nabster"nearby. Most nabsters have no genitalia due to clenching horse anuses and due to having no genitals to masturbate with, have to spend their time making lame jokes about musicals on the internet.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Some homos are men and the rest are women

    by CreamCheeseAlchemist

    I love how squeaky clean and classic feeling Batwoman and Kevin Keller's monthlies are

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 11:22 a.m. CST

    RIP Gerry Anderson

    by Seph_J

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-20845407

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Barks is not the sole stage cast member

    by Movidude74

    the kid playing Gavroche also played the role on the West End

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 6:45 p.m. CST

    I love musicals. This movie was insulting

    by CherryValance

    to anyone with ears. Or eyes. Quit the freakin' shakycam already. Waste of time. See anything else twice.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 9:10 p.m. CST

    This just in...

    by KDog629

    Trismegistus13 STILL not over this movie. Been slamming it over and over in a half dozen different threads for about ten days now. Now THAT takes commitment.

  • Dec. 29, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Kdog

    by Paul Macadom

    Still not over following me about? Really getsto you that i hate this fucking film. Standard butthurt fanboy behaviour. It's a talk back. I'm talking back. Fuck off.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST

    @trismegistus13

    by Magic01273

    he's a fanboy - you're a hater. In fact you're both so cliche' it makes me want to self harm. So why don't YOU fuck off.

  • Dec. 30, 2012, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Also, Colm Wilkinson was the original Jean Valjean.

    by gabbygall

    and he now plays the priest in this movie version.