Let me start this off by saying that if you have not seen this movie yet, please do so now. Right now. Even it's it is 1 in the morning, go. Get your butt off the computer or your iphone and see it!!! Invite your neighbors as well. I shall wait for your return.
Now that that is out of the way, be warned, this review will contain SPOILERS. So if you failed to listen to the above suggestion tis your own fault if you are spoiled, not mine.
So without a doubt I knew that this movie was going to be fantastic. I stayed away from the reviews online so as not to have their opinion influence my thoughts. This is now my 2nd favorite movie of all time, but Les Mis has always been my 2nd favorite book and stage production so it really doesn't surprise me that this is now my 2nd favorite movie. I seriously cannot say enough good things about it. However, I am a little bit more impressed with the stage version but that is no reason to diss on this film. In fact everything Tom Hooper directed completely did the stage production justice and for that I applaud him. The only people I cannot see enjoying this movie are musical haters and people without a soul or people who love everything about Will Ferrell. (No, I am not apologizing for that last statement.) That is it.
Now I apologize to my readers ahead of time if this just kind of bounces around and all over the place but I am hoping that you understand what I am trying to say. Before we begin here is what Les Miserables is for those who have no idea. Les Miserables is a French novel written by Victor Hugo (the same dude who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame) in 1862. The novel was turned into a musical in Paris in 1980 where it ran for 3 months in the Palais des Sports in Paris. After being translated into English, it opened in the West End of London on October 28, 1985 where critics loathed it but fans loved it. The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987 and was nominated for twelve Tony Awards, and won eight.
Now onto the movie version!
Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean aka 24601)- Give him an Oscar. And an Academy Award. And everything. Wonderful, wonderful performance. I cannot even fathom seeing any other film actor as Valjean. He did so well and I am just extremely proud of him in this role.
Russell Crowe (Javert)- I want to give this man a hug, truly I do. He was phenomenal and I have to say that he was the one that surprised me the most. And I am so tired of reading comments about his portrayal of the character and how bad he did. To those people; you know nothing of Javert! Javert is a hard role to portray considering it's complexity and I would like any one of you asshats who are complaining about his performance to do as well as he did. Oh that's right, he got the role and you didn't so you can't prove anything so let us shut up about it and stop hating on the Crowe. Considering that Crowe is not a professional singer, he kicked major ass. His Javert was amazing and for the first time I felt that he was indeed, a human and anyone who disagrees can go jump off a bridge! Truly Crowe was one of the highlights of the film.
Oh and here's a little fact that a lot of people missed in the theatre; when Javert falls in the water you can hear a cracking noise. Pretty sure that was the sound of my heart breaking.='(
Colm Wilkinson (Bishop of Digne)- For those who don't know, he is THE FIRST Jean Valjean. Having him play the Bishop is the best decision ever made ever. Great performer and he did fantastic as the Bishop. I was so happy that he makes an appearance at the end of the movie as well for he is the character that pretty much had the most significant influence on Valjean the most.What was really cool was that throughout the movie the silver candlesticks were shown.
Anne Hathaway(Fantine)- Oh Anne Hathaway, you were so amazing! After I Dreamed A Dream I was tempted to not applaud. She was just incredible in this role. She played the character so well and I thought that she was absolutely astonishing.Her scenes were the ones I found to be some of the most heart wrenching to watch and when a scene or actor can get that reaction out of you, they are doing their job. I am really REALLY wanting Anne to win an Oscar for this, she is deserving of it more than anyone this year.
Amanda Seyfried (Cosette)- She did wonderfully. I knew by the trailer that she was a great choice but her voice completely fits the role and she sounds like a little song bird! At the end you could really feel her characters love for her father as well. I really dislike all the hate Cosette's character get's though. Sure, in the musical we don't get to know a lot of her back-story but if you read the book you might come to appreciate her more. By the way, I absolutely loved the hat she wears! =)
Eddie Redmayne (Marius)- Good casting choice. THANK GOD HE IS NOT NICK JONAS. I've only ever seen him in one other role and this was something new to him and he succeeded and almost made me like Marius a little. ALMOST. Still hate him though but at least in the movie he seemed to feel something when Eponine died and didn't just go (2 seconds later) I HAVE MY LOVER COSETTE'S LETTER! I LOVE HER! without even acknowledging Eponine's death. One thing I really wanted to see that they didn't add in (though probably not his choice) was having Marius throw a rock up to Cosette's window and have her shut it then sing "I'm doing everything all wrong!" during A Heart Full of Love.
ABC Members- Every single one of them did an amazing job. Aaron Tveit (Enjolras) really surprised me and I have to say his portrayal of the character is right up there with Ramin's. Unlike the stage version I actually felt somewhat attached to his character and felt some pretty strong emotions when we didn't see him again until the end.
Samantha Barks (Eponine)- Truly the star of the cast. I knew she wouldn't disappoint. Eponine is one of my dream roles and I have been a huge fan of Samantha ever since the 25th Anniversary concert. Even on film she is the best.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (The Thenardiers)- I loved them both so much! Most hilarious characters in the show and they got that across very well. I wish they would both receive a lot more credit than they have been given. Truly Helena and Sacha are now my favorite takes on the Thenardiers.
Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche)- I loved him so so so much! As soon as he jumped into the carriage I'm just like "You're gonna go far kid." Loved him so much! I knew he would die but that didn't make it any less sad. When Javert put his medal on him I almost lost it.
Isabelle Allen (Younger version of Cosette)- What a great little actress/singer she was. I was so surprised to find out that this was her first time appearing on film, she did so great. I'm literally rooting for her to be in more films, I thought she stole the show.
Natalya Angel Wallace (Younger version of Eponine)- Looked so very similiar to Samantha Barks it was unreal. Although it's a small role she made it her own. "Eponine, come my dear, Eponine, let me see you. You look very well in that new little blue hat!"
The Extras- You could not have this movie, nor this show at all without the extras. Well done to all of them and a special shout out to Frances Ruffelle who played a whore!
Every single song was done in good taste and is deserving of ravenous round of applause. Although a lot of the lyrics were switched around and some of the songs cut shorted (such as A Little Fall of Rain) it is not really that big of a deal and you won't pick up on it unless you are a huge fan of the musical (like myself.)
Work Song/On Parole- This starts the entire musical out and get's you ready to experience this rollercoaster of a story. However this is not my favorite version of the two songs. Great change in lyrics, but not my favorite version.
Valjean Arrested, Valjean Forgiven- I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful this scene was. I adore Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop so much.
What Have I Done?- Hugh Jackman did an exceptional job during this song. The emotion he put into it was so great that for a second I believed that he was the real life version of Jean Valjean.
At the End of the Day- We are taken to the year of 1823 in Montreuil-Sure-Mer. Fantastic scene. I read that some people were complaining about the extras and how their whispering was unnecessary but it was wonderful and fit the scene beautifully. We meet Fantine and learn that she is working to pay for her daughter after some worker snatches a letter out of her hand because she has no respect for privacy and needs to know every single thing that goes down in Fantine's life. Honestly it felt a little like bullying when the other workers surround and quetsion her. Monsieur Madeleine aka Jean Valjean comes in to break up the fight, sees Javert then flees as Fantine is thrown out onto the street. Wonderful performance by Hathaway here.
Lovely Ladies- I was honestly not a fan of the 10th or 25th anniversary's rendition of this song. However the movie does it fabulously and we get to see Fantine get her hair cut/ have her teeth pulled which is truly heartbreaking.
I Dreamed A Dream- This is what will get Hathaway an Oscar, for this song alone.
Fantine's Arrest- The scene where we see that Valjean truly is a changed man. Breathtakingly beautiful this scene was.
Who Am I/The Trial- Jackman did such a wonderful job with this song, although the close up on his face kind of bugged me for a minute.
Come to Me (Fantine's Death)- CRY CRY CRY CRY CRY!!!! We get to see a type of spirit representing Cosette at this point in the film and it just breaks my heart to know she's not going to make it. Jackman also takes this scene to a whole new level with his character, which is good considering he has became an honest man.
THE CONFRONTATION- By far my absolute favorite song in the entire musical. And they did it splendidly... WITH SWORDS.
Castle on a Cloud- Isabelle Allen is a talented little girl and her version of Castle on a Cloud has to be one of the best that I have ever heard. And of course Madame Thenardier's part was purely evil but I couldn't help but love it because Helena was singing and I'm a huge fan of hers.
Master of The House- I have had this song in my head for days. It was done so well and had everyone in my theater laughing. Why is it that the catchiest song has the one with the worst morals in lyrics?
The Bargain/The Thénardier Waltz of Treachery- Everyone nailed this scene! This is basically how it went down;
Thenardier- (hand gesturing) Come here
Cosette- (shakes head) No
Thenardier- Come on I NEED MORE MONEY.
Cosette- No no. That's quite alright.
Thenardier- Please pretend that we love each other.
Thenardier- GIRL GET OVER HERE!
Probably one of my favorite parts of the movie!
Suddenly- This was a new song that they added in for the film and although it is a really nice ballad it was not necessary. Maybe I need to listen to it again to get exactly what he was singing about and maybe I'll learn to love it.
Stars- Oh my God it was soooo freaking good! And I loved how at the end it went into a huge instrumental and we were taken to Paris, 10 years later.
Look Down- Probably my 3rd favorite song of the entire musical. Loved it lots! However I missed the beggar woman and Madeline!
The Robbery/Javert's Intervention- This was a great take on it! I loved how each character seemed to have aged through the years as well!
Eponine's Errand- I am so happy that they didn't cut this scene! "Little he knows, little he sees."
ABC Café/Red and Black- HUGE round of applause for our Barricade Boys! Red and Black is another song that has been stuck in my head for days now and it's not really one of my favorite songs.
Rue Plumet/In My Life- Such an emotional song and I think that every single person carried it out well.
A Heart Full of Love- <3 Wonderful. There really isn't much more to say about it.
The Attack on Rue Plumet- AHHHHH! It was sooo sooo good! I've always loved this little tune!
On My Own- I shall admit that it blew me away. A bit different than the stage version (not as much belting) but still really fantastic. I want her to win an award so bad.
One Day More- This song was just filmed amazingly and I really can't explain how they did it but it made the song seem more umm realistic? I'm not sure what word I'm going for here but it was good.
Do You Hear the People Sing?- Yes and they were great! I loved how they filmed this scene as well. Completely took me by surprise.
Building the Barricade (Upon These Stones)- Pretty good, although I wish Eponine would have delivered the letter, but can't have everything I suppose.
At the Barricade (Upon These Stones)/ Little People- LOL. I love Gavroche so much in this! But I've always liked Javert as well so it always sucks when they find out he's a traitor and tie him up! Oh and it sucks when Eponine get's shot as well. ='( Besides Gavroche, not a really happy song for some people!
A Little Fall of Rain- No idea why they had to cut this short. Not cool Mr. Hooper! But still, it was quite good.
Night of Anguish- Valjean, at last! You arrive at the barricades!
Drink With Me- I really am not fond of this song but the way it was filmed gave it something, although I'm not sure what.
Bring Him Home- Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. Jackman brought it home with this song!!!
The First Attack- Valjean releases Javert. Not really a great song but it is needed for development.
The Second Attack" (Death of Gavroche)- I cannot express how much I wanted to cry during this. WHO SHOOTS A KID?!?!? Bastard! You could truly feel Grantaire's sadness during this scene.
The Final Battle- This was done beautifully. Toward the end about five or six end up in the attic with Enjolras. The soldiers are downstairs and shoot through the ceiling and suddenly the boys drop dead and Enjolras is left completely alone. There’s fear and a pounding heart as the soldiers come up and surround Enjolras, and you can see it in his eyes that he knows this is it. And then Grantaire makes his way up the stairs, and takes his place beside Enjolras to die.
Javert's Suicide- Beautiful. Simply beautiful. I HATED IT! Why does he have to die?!?!? Overall though, it was executed in a beautiful way and we actually get a deja vu experience to Stars when he was walking on the edge of the building.
Turning- They cut out 99% of this song as well. It made me sad because I really enjoy this song a lot.
Empty Chairs At Empty Tables- Redmayne sang it really well but I think they could have added more to the scene.
Every Day- This was breathtaking. But I really REALLY dislike Marius as a character.
Wedding Chorale- Great scene, always love how Marius punches Thenardier. Surprisingly this is the part where everything becomes clear to Marius! *gasp.*
Beggar's At The Feast- Liked it better on stage but this was different and I somehow appreciated it.
Valjean's Death- Crying tears!Fantastic and heartbreaking. Amanda’s reaction to the death of Valjean is so tragic and believable. Fantine coming to retrieve Valjean’s soul is beautiful And Eponine isn't there. Yeah, I kind of wish that we could have had that cool harmony with Fantine, but that's okay. Instead, Valjean’s spirit walks out of the church where he died to the waiting Bishop, who joins in singing “to love another person is to see the face of God” and it’s just literally the most perfect way to end the Epilogue.
Do You Hear the People Sing? (Reprise)- Great way/ song choice to end the show with. Bravo!
Basically, to sum this review up the movie should win everything. EVERYTHING. And Tom Hooper included the convent in the film which was only in the book. Hooray climbing the wall convent scene! What really impressed me the most though is that every person sang live, no movie has ever done that before and you can definitely see that making that small change really payed off. Basically this is a one million and a half movie out of 10 in my ratings. Go see it!