"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Les Miserables

I have been waiting for this day for years.  Literally, years.  When I first heard that Hugh Jackman was playing the lead, I about wet my pants and started counting down the months until Les Miserables opened in theaters.   Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a gigantic Hugh Jackman fan.  He's an amazing actor, and he's one of those rarities in Hollywood that you just never hear anything bad about.  He's a very devoted father and husband (of 16 years, which in Hollywood years is more like 100), and on and on.  I could seriously rave more about him, but I'm getting sweaty.  And I'm madly in love with my husband.  I truly am!!

Knowing that he would score major points, Cody took me on a date this afternoon to get lunch and then see the movie.  It's been open since Christmas day, but being the mom of five little kids, it's been very hard for me to get away and see it.  I've heard everyone talking about how amazing it is and all it's done is feed the need to see it for myself!  And that day was today.  And was it worth the wait?  Abso-freakin-lootly and then some.

This was actually my first time seeing the musical adaptation of it.  I've seen two different movie adaptations and read the story (you know that 1,600 page manuscript?) and I've heard all the music....but never seen it all put together.  I'm not the biggest fan of musicals because it bugs me how they have to sing plain old conversation.  But this particular show has at least five songs that are incredible, so it was worth sitting through the conversational music.

Anne Hathaway blew me away.  Her voice is awesome and although she is only in about 1/3 of the movie, she stole the show.  The "I Dreamed a Dream" scene was out of this world.  It was way more than I expected and I bawled my eyes out.  The director had everyone sing live (I think I have seen every single documentary and interview about the making of this movie) and that was the smartest thing to do.  I can only imagine how challenging it was for the actors, but it really set the movie apart.  So much emotion was portrayed through the songs as a result.

Now I only love Hugh all the more.  I already knew his singing voice was brilliant, but seeing him as Jean Valjean took the cake.  Funny story-  When I was about 19 years old, I was watching a PBS (TV) stage production of "Oklahoma".  I noticed that one of the lead guys was really cute and had a wonderful voice and he stole the show.  I had no idea who he was, but he left an impression on me.  Fast forward to the opening of the first X-Men movie.  I am a HUGE X-Men freak and I saw that movie on a date.  I'm sitting there and as I was watching Wolverine (an actor whom I didn't recognize) I could not place what else I'd seen him in.  Halfway through the movie it dawned on me- "Oh my gosh, he's that Oklahoma actor!!"  I told my date afterward and he swore I had to be wrong.  Went home and looked it up, and sure enough.  Hugh Jackman actually got his start in musical theatre!  EEEEK!!  I have been a fan ever since.

The only problem with the movie was Amanda Seyfried.  I can-not-stand-her-singing-voice.  She is so beautiful and looked great for the part of Cosette, but good grief....someone needs to give that girl vibrato lessons.  She sounds like a goat.  She and Josh Groban would have beautiful little goat sounding babies together.  I thought that when I saw "Mama Mia" and I groaned when I heard they cast her in this part.  Not a fan of the singing.  I will leave it at that.

I really enjoyed the part of Eponine and the actress who played her.  Her voice was perfect and I could have listened to her all day.  The death scene with her and Marius was a major tear scene and I cried pretty hard.  And when Marius wakes up back in the house and goes to the Rebellion meeting room and realizes that he is the only survivor, oh my gosh.  Unspeakable.  Fantastic.

When Javert "falls" from the bridge, ewww.  Did they REALLY have to show him (and make the sound of him) hitting the ledge and cracking in half?  According to Cody, yes they did.  It was the "best part of the movie".  But really, really sad.  And by the way, Russell Crowe sounds freakishly like David Bowie when he sings!!

The way they wrapped it all up in the last two scenes was unbelievable.  I ugly cried; I cried the way that should only be done in the dark.  Heaving, large sobs.  I was amazed at how they aged Hugh to look like an old, dying man.  Look at his eyes.  How did they do that?  Was it make up or special effects?  Probably both.  The only thing I would change is when Fantine comes to meet him as he dies, I wish she had looked beautiful again; with her long hair and beautiful skin.  She was the short haired, unhealthy version.  And When Valjean dies and goes out to meet the rest of the people who died in the revolution with the music "Can You Hear The People Singing", I wish he had looked like a younger version again.  Like the 44 year old, healthy Hugh in real life.  I think it would have made it come full circle a little more.  But overall, the ending was MAGNIFICENT!!  There was sooooo much that they left out of the movie, but that just happens when you convert a book to film; and a super long book at that.  But the meat was there.  I wanted so badly to applaud at the end, but I've never been in a movie where the audience actually clapped at the end.  Instead, it was a theater full of sobbing people.  Lots and lots of sniffling sounds.

I could go on and on, but who am I?  A movie critic?  There is so much going through my head about this show, but I'll leave it at this.  I will probably be seeing it again next week (with someone who really appreciates the story and isn't holding back Wolverine comments that whole time....Cody!) and someone I can cry with.  And then you can bet I will be buying the blue ray the day it is released!

1 comment:

alisquire said...

I loved it too (and even blogged about it too), and I've seen the stage version a few times. I agree with most of what you said. I loved Eponine, and I always ugly cry when she dies. I heard that Taylor Swift tried out for that part, and I'm SO glad that Samantha Barks got it instead! I also thought Fantine should have had her long hair back at the end, though I still think she looked beautiful.