Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Miserables... I dreamed this dream!


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.


  1. I have never seen the stage version, but have loved the story and music since high school, and I have to say I was thrilled they sang everything!! Crowe surprised me as well and Hathaway...there are no words. My personal favorite was Eddie Redmayne as Marius, an actor I have admired since Elizabeth.

    1. I have seen the stage version (on tour) twice, but I loved it! I haven't been able to finish the book though, it's huge and daunting and way too long. :)

      And Eddie Redmayne was adorable. I just have trouble connected to Marius and Cosette because of how much I love Eponine... I feel like she stuck around for longer in the musical than the movie.

    2. I have to disagree Ms. Aubrey! While I enjoyed the movie, I thought Hathaway was insufferably bad. I told Peter before hand that if it was live singing, I put money on Hathaway cry-gasping the high notes so she could "act" them instead of "hit" them...and I was right! I'm no fan of musicals, but I do love this one. I was very impressed with Wolverine...but Anne? Meh...(oh, and I was confused as to why the sewer-poop scene was so realistic, but the "street women" looked like clown versions--it was as though the movie alternated between realism and fantastic imagination.

    3. I already knew Jackman was impressive and a great singer. But I really disagree with you on Hathaway. I was riveted during "I Dreamed a Dream"... but I'd already heard her sing elsewhere and knew she could hit notes. In general though, I felt in the movie they acted the songs more so than "belted" them as in the musical; I expected more emotional Eponine songs than I got. I'm used to the Original Broadway Cast version of "On My Own" which I felt was more vocally strong than the movie, though Samantha Barks was fantastic.

      And I think the movie was trying to make the clowny street women and Thenardier scenes "lighter" to balance out the depressing parts, but you're right. Not very consistent.


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