Oh man. I just saw Les Miserables. I rarely go to movies because I don’t like to put on clothes that aren’t pajamas on weekends. Yes, I’m exaggerating. But I seriously don’t go to the movies that much. Which is why I can in good conscience declare that Les Miserables should win ALL THE OSCARS! (It’s not like I’ve seen anything else in the running…)
I’ve never seen the actual stage production of Les Mis but I’m familiar with the soundtrack because it’s beautiful. I challenge you to not get the chills when you listen to “Do You Hear The People Sing?” I like the musical because although it takes some liberties, it doesn’t stray too terribly far from Victor Hugo’s epic novel. (Unlike the late 90s movie version of Les Mis starring Liam Niessen and Claire Danes in which Jean Valjean LIVED. WTF, guys?!)
I thought the casting in this movie was phenomenal… With one exception. But I’ll get to that in a minute. Anne Hathaway?! Your Fantine was brilliant. Amanda Seyfried? Well, grown up Cosette doesn’t do a lot, but you know, you hit the high notes and cried in the right places. Plus, you’re so darn pretty with Eddie Redmayne. Who’s a bit of a dreamboat himself. Who knew freckles could sing? OMG who was that girl playing Eponine?! She might be my new favorite human being! Hi Samantha Barks! You rock! (Who was Taylor Swift kidding when she auditioned for that part?!) Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were the perfect diabolical duo as the Thernardiers. And little Gavroche was AMAZING. I totes ugly cried when Russell Crowe pinned the medal on that kid’s corpse.
But let’s talk for a minute about Russell Crowe. He wasn’t awful. He does the stern cranky unrelenting douche canoe thing very well. However… The singing… I mean, it’s not like his voice cracked or anything, but his vocal chops just paled in comparison to the rest of the cast. You know who should have played Javert? Hugh Jackman. Yes, he was a MAGNIFICENT Jean Valjean. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have played that part. I’m saying he should have played BOTH parts. You KNOW it’s possible. Lindsay Lohan played both twins in The Parent Trap (as did Haley Mills) before she went cray cray. They could have thrown in an evil twin aspect, no? A little soap operatic twist? I know. It’s ridiculous. But Hugh Jackman, I want to hear you do “Stars” justice. Please?
Having never seen the musical, I didn’t have a lot of expectations for how this would play out on screen. The only comparison point I had for this was the book (plus the musical soundtrack, but I’ve already discussed the OMG singing.) First, can I just say how glad I am that they made it ABUNDANTLY clear in this movie that this was NOT the official French Revolution? That’s a common misconception, and it irritates me, because, you know. History. Realism points to you, Tom Hooper. Ooooh I just love a period piece with good detail! The hoards of poor people- the all looked disgusting! It was great! There’s no bronzer in the gutters of 18th Century Paris, y’all. The makeup artists went above and beyond with the scabs and sores and pock marks. And they grossed up most people’s teeth. I appreciate the little bits of authenticity. The prostitutes were also delightfully gross. They all looked like walking syphilis! Granted, the period makeup was pretty scary, the way these gals were painted up was terrifying. OSCAR, OSCAR, OSCAR!
Finally. The sewers! I’ve discussed this before, haven’t I? Hugo went into excessive detail about the nastiness of the Parisian sewer system. It was stomach churningly realistic. OMG soupy disgusting chunky river of poop. So VIVIDLY rendered! I can’t come up with enough superlatives to express my love of this movie (with the notable exception of my lukewarm feelings about Russell Crowe. Bleh.) In summation, I am a blubbering mess of fan girl right now. Vive la France!