I dreamed a dream.... that Les Miserables would become a movie so I could watch it over and over.
And that dream came true! While I was nervous about a musical I love so much becoming a film (I've seen it twice on tour), I felt there was a good chance that it would be as good as, say, The Phantom of the Opera was. I mean, the musical's writers helped pen the screenplay. And the previews alone, with Anne Hathaway's rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" gave me chills. I was also excited about the casting of Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean.
Now, I had my doubts about other casting choices... most specifically Russell Crowe as Javert. I would have preferred Gerard Butler. I even previewed the soundtrack on iTunes to hear Crowe's singing voice. While I didn't cringe, I had to hope that he would have some good acting to back it up. Because any fan of musical theater will tell you, it's not just about your singing voice, but that emotional and in-the-moment connection.
Another concern of mine? I'd never heard of Samantha Barks, who plays my favorite character of the musical, Eponine. But friends of mine assured me that she is a Broadway girl and a natural fit for the role. I'm surprised they went with a relatively unknown actor for the iconic role, but in musical circles she was viewed as a great choice.
The verdict? I loved it. Anne Hathaway stole the show (I love her!) and everyone, even Crowe, acted and sang their hearts out. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were the perfect Thenardiers. That said, the directors probably could have nixed some of the singing dialogue and spoken words instead. I know, not a purist opinion, but I think it served other musical movies well.
I'll be buying this one on DVD!
Oh, and I saw a couple other movies of late: Django Unchained and Lincoln. If you like Tarantino, the acting (Waltz, Foxx, Jackson, DiCaprio!) and action are top notch in Django. But as always with Tarantino, be prepared for gratuitous violence and profanity. For Lincoln, you might find it dull if you're not a fan of history, but again superb acting by Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field, and the supporting cast. Plus, my beloved Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in it. Swoon.