At the End of the Day it's Just Another Film with a lot of Singing

Happy Holidays, folks!
It's been quiet here on the blogging front, but fret not, for I am still alive and well.
As healthy as an artichoke* for I got to see Les Misérables.
On my own. As is always the case.

If you recall my last post you will remember me confessing not being a Les Mis fan.
And I'm not just jumping on the Les Mis bandwagon because of the film- no. I have truly become a fan.

That being clarified, let's get on with another edition of my Ish-Reviews. **

I had mixed expectations going in, because I was blown away by the 25th Anniversary and expected an equally astounding vocal cast plus spectacular performances. [Of course, I excluded Russell Crowe from these expectations]

Yeah, you guessed it. I'm not a fan of his. Gladiator, shmadiator.

It was frustrating watching and listening to him; I felt like his character had no depth- and this is Javert we're talking about. He's deep alright. Crowe can play angry somewhat convincingly, but that's about it.
His redeeming moments? Stars and Javert's Suicide- both because he played something other than "look-I'm-brooding-and-angry" and was vulnerable for once.

It is either Valjean or Javert? I choose the former, thanks. [Norm Lewis I missed thee.]

Source: reelz.com via REELZ on Pinterest

Ah, Hugh Jackman.
Vocally, he was on the nasal side on various occasions but performance wise- he was living the role.  He was Jean Valjean, it's apparent he put so much of himself in this role.

Is this portrait not exceptionally beautiful?

The movie theater got unnervingly quiet during I Dreamed a Dream, I mean, you could hear a pin drop quiet. Once the song ended everyone breathed a sigh of ... relief? It was heart wrenching. And boy, Anne's got some singing chops. She's the real deal folks. From Princess Diaries to The Dark Knight Rises and this.
Soy su fans. ***

Young Cosette and Gavroche: little children speaking British English.
I need kids of my own like that.

Eddie Redmayne et Friends did not disappoint. I'd only seen Monsieur Redmayne in My Week with Marylin and, eh. Empty Chairs at Empty Tables was another heart wrenching moment.

Redmayne to Hathaway: I see your I Dreamed a Dream and raise you Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.

I had real qualms involving the absurd amount of close-ups (which I will get to later) but this was one of the most beautiful moments where a close up felt just right. Real tears, a freckled face, no instruments- just a despaired voice.
Towards the end though, I sensed some sort of break in emotion- this I blame to the editing.

Aaron Tveit is no Ramin Karimloo, but he does Enjolras justice. I mean, he's Aaron Tveit.

Amanda Seyfried was a cute wide-eyed Cosette. She can sing, it's true. But as my friend put it, she's like a singing lamb. A heeeaaart full of looooove.

Samantha Barks has a tiny waist.

Tiiiiny I tell you.
She shines bright (like a diamond) in the 25th Anniversary Concert. I feel like she held back in the film- especially vocally. 

No drama is complete without the comedic relief. The Thenardiérs are just the thing!
All hail Helena Bonham Carter- for she can do anything her heart desires. She may not be the strongest singer in the cast, but boy, she's whatever character you ask her to be. She doesn't miss a beat, musically and comedically speaking. What's not to love?
Sacha Baron Cohen is on par with her fellow lady partner.
Their costumes were my favourite. Mrs. Thernardiér was like the female mad-hatter of the French Revolution. 
All in all, very niiiice.

And look!

If it isn't our very own, Hadley Fraser. Now on the dark side.

I know vocals aren't all that important, but in something as big as this (and where there's singing all the time) it has to count for something. I wasn't all too impressed, is my point.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed it.

The cinematography & art direction was superb. Top notch.
Tom Hooper & Danny Cohen know where the swagger's at. Faded hues, peeling walls, the nitty-grittyness of life, the colour red - who knew such things could be so aesthetically pleasing to the eye?

Most memorable scene, for me, pictorially? At the End of the Day. The jump cuts and 'pans' were reminiscent of Walker Evans & Dorothea Lange.


Sometimes you forget about all the hard work behind a production (theater & movie wise), so I'm grateful for featurettes like this one
They go on to talk about the importance of teeth. Fantine's teeth in I dreamed a dream were as white as snow. Hmmmmm...

And this is just taking my pickyness to a whole new level:
It's set in Paris but they're all singing in English. Why are all the documents/letters in French?
I lost all credibility in what I was watching, as I was sure most of them had no idea what they were reading and then singing about...

Had it been an all French Cast (not necessarily French Director- though the mind wanders what could have happened), then I'd understand the use of written French.

And the most important point of all: CLOSE UPS.
Too many of them. 
2 hours of the film involved me taking in deep breaths to avoid going to the bathroom and puking.****
It's nice to have a close up on a musical because that's a huge difference from watching a live production and a film. But that doesn't mean you should over do it.  

"The camera soars on high, the orchestra bellows, and then, whenever somebody feels a song coming on, we are hustled in close, forsaking our bird’s-eye view for that of a consultant rhinologist." 

Which is not to say there were some tender and lovely moments. 
I don't know. Maybe I've been spoiled by Peter Jackson & his type of epic-ness...

Les Miserables.
Yes, it was beautiful. 

Yes, I would watch it again.

And yes, I still prefer the 25th Anniversary Concert.

Watch it. It doesn't disappoint.
Alfie Boe. Norm Lewis. Ramin Karimloo. 
Let's just that's Nick Jonas among the pros...

And just for laughs. Because- let's face it- after Les Mis, you need a good laugh...

Source: quickmeme.com via Gabby on Pinterest

* I just coined that term. Artichokes are good for you, right? And they look like blooming flowers, so....

** I have two other Ish-Reviews in my drafts and another pending. I will get on with them.
*** Bad spanish for 'I'm her fan'.
**** I never got past the first 10 minutes of The Blair Witch Project. Hand held cameras & a lot of movement are not my forte.


  1. I liked the idea of the close ups (for I Dreamed a Dream & Empty Chairs) but it did not need to be so shakey! That and Russel Crowe's Javert were my least favorite parts. Though I still loved it.
    I forgot to mention Samantha Bark's tiny waist but holy hell. At first when they panned out and you could see it I thought they had photoshopped her.

    1. When they panned out on her the first time, the girl next to me (loudly) said, "Is that her waist?!". I'm still not over it.
      I'm still also a fan of the film :)

  2. Solid review. Hugh Jackman may very well give Daniel Day Lewis a run for his money come Oscar time. I wouldn't be sad to see either of them win; they both did a great job. This is definitely worth a watch.

    1. I have yet to watch Lincoln- which I am looking forward to (if anything, just to see Daniel Day Lewis be the amazing Daniel Day Lewis on screen).
      Thanks for stopping by!