Les Miserables

I was in Saltcoats when I found their small 2 screen cinema on the seafront. I took a look to see what was playing and there was Les Miserables. I’ve long wanted to go see the musical on stage but I decided to see it in the cinema after all the hype. Have to say, for such a small town Saltcoats has a great cinema 🙂

The sets and costumes are superb, they recreate a 200 year old Paris as you’d expect it to be. The streets and buildings almost look real, and the wide variety of costumes and attention to detail is phenomenal. I love films with sets so this one didn’t disappoint.

Anne Hathaway sings “I Dreamed a Dream” fairly early on in the film and she is nothing short of incredible. It looks like one take for the entire song, and the emotion she puts into it is so believable. She should get an Oscar for that scene alone. It reminds me of that scene in Birth when Nicole Kidman is at the theatre, and realisation dawns on her as the camera focuses on her face for about 3 minutes and you know what’s gong on in her mind just by her facial expressions.
I love the song and I love hearing it sang but that’s the first time I’ve heard it in context and along with the rest of her role, it puts Anne Hathaway top of my list for great actors.

Neither is Hugh Jackman out of place as Daljean, and he turns in the best performance I’ve seen him do. In fact I did not see a weak performance from any one of the cast, not even in crowd scenes or the soldier scenes. Along with great sets and fabulous costumes, the acting was excellent and I suspect Samantha Barks (Eponine) is destined for big things as a result. I’m not a huge fan of Russell Crowe but even he gave his character depth and carried it well throughout the film.

The story is not the most riveting one in the world, I believe that as a book, it was written in the context of letters rather than narrative and dialogue. But it’s carried out so brilliantly that you can’t help but get picked up and carried along with it.

2 tiny irritants:
Amanda Seyfried sings in a high, warbling falsetto that actually sounds false. It’s like a Smurf in karaoke. I know she can sing fine as I saw her in Mamma Mia, but her voice in Les Mis I think is poor. There’s a lot of use of vibrato by several of the actors and it’s not to my personal taste, but at least it’s done well by the others.
The second one is that the peasants all seem to talk in a Cockney accent. It almost felt as thought they were trying to mimic Oliver! Helena Bonham-Carter (Yawn) did her usual odd peasant role, and she and Sacha Baron Cohen (Bleurgh)  also adopted Cockney accents for most of their dialogue. Neither of those two things spoiled the film, but they made it less than perfect; they both stood out as everything else was impeccable.

I was surprised to find that I Dreamed a Dream is the only real, full song in the musical. There’s only a dozen or so words spoken, the rest are sung but as a priest would sing a psalm, there’s a proper word for tit hat I can’t remember.

Anyway, just for the spectacle and the magnificent performances I’d rate it an 8 or 9, Musically I’d rate it a 4 and that’s because there isn’t many real songs in it. Entertainment value is definitely an 8 and I’m guessing the stage show will be even more fun so I can’t wait to see it now.

Sorry for wittering on, just wanted to let you know what I thought 🙂

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