Les Miserables - the movie

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Kruss, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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    Eponine probably never went for Enjoras because he was even less interested in her than Marius was, lol. All revolution and justice for that boy; no time or interest in women. You can just see it in his exasperated face when the other boys are extolling the virtues of girls, lol.

    Besides, Marius was different; not like the others. He came from a good upbringing and as much as he hid it, I'm sure it showed in his manners and actions. Eponine probably saw him and thought he could be her knight in shining armor.
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Well I guess I'm in the minority here, but I absolutely loved it. I went on Thursday while on vacation in Vancouver. Theatre was packed, audience applauded at the end, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one crying at multiple times throughout.
    I want it to win all of the Oscars! :encore:
  3. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

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    I see the characters as straightfoward archetypes.
    Fantine - female victim through and through. Madonna/Whore.
    Jean - true hero. Sticks his neck out for everyone. The personification of a true Christian.
    Javert - rigid, law and order man with no real soul. Hides behind God, but cannot stand himself when he actually has compassion for someone. (This is why I don't mind Crowe in the role. He does loathesome well).
    Cosette and Marius - true, pure, unadulterated, magical love. Cinderella and Prince Charming. (Pampered simps. ;) )
    Eponine - girl from the wrong side of the tracks with unrequited love. Becomes brave and does good.
    Gavroche - the unvarnished truth of youth.
  4. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    With Valjean and Javert you have the conflict between justice and mercy, plus he realization of how much else can hide behind both.
  5. victoriaheidi

    victoriaheidi New Member

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    Saw it. I was with my aunt who, unfortunately, knew very little about the story and had a hard time grasping it. She spent a good deal of the movie asking questions. I'm glad I went with her, though, because I know the story so well that I think I take for granted the story arc--she truly was confused by a lot of elements, and I can't say I blame her!

    I enjoyed it--I mean, yes, it got really draggy in the middle (too long!). And there were some voices I didn't really like. Most significant to me, however, is the lack of a proper album. Yes, they made an album, but all they did was take cuts from the film and put them on a CD. That's all well and good...but what was so powerful on screen (Anne's IDAD, for instance) sounds so weak and weird without the visual to back it up. I wish they'd gone into a studio and done an actual recording just to make a soundtrack.
  6. mrinalini

    mrinalini Active Member

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    DBZ, I couldn't agree more with everything you've said. You've articulated the issues I had with the movie more precisely than I could.

    I mentioned earlier that the key relationships weren't fleshed out well - how, for example, can we feel much for Cosette and Marius when they're immediately making googly eyes at each other and singing of their undying love? The same can be said of Eponine's fixation on Marius, and to Valjean's latching on to Fantine and then Cosette. The characters and the situations they find themselves in are simply presented as they are, they're just there, with hardly any exposition whatsoever. Sure, some of the characters' motivations are expressed through the lyrics, but it all feels a bit too neat and too much like lazy storytelling. The characters are presented as straightforward archetypes and are thus very one-note and hard to take seriously as real human beings - if something doesn't feel real, it's hard to feel for it. The weird thing is that I have seen the musical on stage and these problems didn't bother me; I guess there are some stage conceits that just don't translate well into film.

    And about Hathaway - I'm now reading that she's very nearly guaranteed the Oscar. Ugh. When I remember the torturous scene where she sings IDAD, I think of what I hate when I see certain film performances, when that bell goes off in your head and you think, ACTING, ACTING, ACTING! I understand that this is a musical and an outsized approach may be preferable to a more subdued one, but she overdid it by far. I even felt that her deathbed scene was a prime example of bad OTT acting.

    Finally, I'm glad to see that there are others who couldn't stand Hooper's direction as well. I loved The King's Speech, so I suppose I must have loved it in spite of him and not because of him.
  7. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

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    The majority of the skaters on twitter seem to agree with you (or maybe the ones who didn't like it just didn't tweet about it). And a few mentioned they were bringing boxes of tissues to the theater.
  8. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Well, skaters are never wrong. Despite any qualms I have for the movie, I've been wanting to rewatch it bad.

    In Bill Condon's defence, he also made Gods and Monsters, which was critically acclaimed and really catapulted his career.

    In Cosette (I'm all about Cosette--suck it, Eponine!!) and Marius' defence, I think both have been shown to be very quick in how they view people. It didn't take Young Cosette too long to trust Valjean either and look how it benefited her. Marius left his rich family to join the Revolution, so he probably is very passionate and spirited. They're both young. They both had that one night together before Cosette had to move (yes, in the movie the night lasted the duration of one song but I can buy that they spent more than 3-4 minutes meeting each other). If they didn't like each other that night, notes would not have been exchanged. And this was a time of war--everything is magnified. Didn't a lot of young people back in WW1 and WW2 marry each other before the husbands went to war?

    Also, it's a musical. It's just something I was willing to buy. Unlike a lot of movies (musicals or otherwise), it wasn't just about Marius and Cosette and their feelings for each other. Their relationship was used to show and test the true characters of Eponine and Valjean.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  9. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

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    Epinone rules - suck it, Cosette! :lol:
    I liked the film...you just have to take it for what it is.
  10. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen this version yet, but I did love the Liam Neeson version that came out in 1998. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119683/ Not a fan of Claire Danes (ever), but they did a decent job of explaining the back story. I guess as a skating fan, I should go. :lol:
  11. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

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  12. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I really want a proper soundtrack too, not just a "highlights" album -- I'm hoping against hope we'll get one at some point.
  13. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember where I read it (the Les Mis Facebook page maybe?), but I believe a full soundtrack is being released in early 2013.
  14. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't a fan of The King's Speech, but I can see why people were, especially because of the great acting of Colin Firth. However, one thing that I picked up on in The King's Speech that I think was magnified in Les Mis was the look-at-this-poor-unfortunate-soul-suffering reaction Hooper wants to yank out of his audience. I think this was toned down in The King's Speech because of Colin Firth's subtlety, but I think the movie itself still had a bit of pity-party feeling for the king (especially when he sang about how his nurse didn't feed him) that was multiplied by a hundred for the central characters in Les Mis.
  15. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    I loved the 1995 version with Jean-Paul Belmondo and the way the story was told twice -- as both the twentieth-century frame story and the Hugo novel that Belmondo's "modern" character reads. I can also recall a gripping 1978 television version with Richard Jordan and Anthony Perkins.

    I just discovered that there is a 2000 French television mini-series with Gérard Depardieu, John Malkovich, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Asia Argento, and Jeanne Moreau. It's on Youtube with English subtitles on Youtube (or Dutch subtitles, if you prefer :p), and I think I might watch it this week.
  16. victoriaheidi

    victoriaheidi New Member

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    I've been obsessed with this version ever since I saw it in high school French! My classmates clearly didn't get it, so they poked fun, but I loved it.
  17. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    Thank you so much for this -- I just started to download it from YouTube. (Here's the link to Part 1 of 16 (For subtitles, press the "CC" button at the bottom of the screen.) In the process, I came across:

    Les Mis in Six Minutes
    From the French Mini-series

    and

    Ten things that sound creepy when said by John Malkovich
  18. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Heaven :swoon:
  19. Bunny Hop

    Bunny Hop Accept no substitutes

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    I also loved The King's Speech. Guess this just shows that directing a musical is a lot different to directing a 'regular' film.

    I also have a lot of problems with the love at first sight thing between Cosette and Marius - they see each other across the street and are instantly deeply in love - but that's probably just because I'm naturally cynical. The rest of it I can easily fill in the back story or motivations for the gaps, but that part stretches the imagination to breaking point. But I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story!
  20. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I think that is exactly it. There are lots of brilliant directors out there who know that a musical is beyond their expertise. I wonder if they got any input from Broadway/stage people.
  21. suep1963

    suep1963 Well-Known Member

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    The story was written in the late 1800s, and it was the convention of the time to have that happen to move the story along. I remember studying a play from that same time period. The prof said, "all you need to understand is if this does not happen, the play ends right here and now, and it's too soon for that" :lol:
  22. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    That happens a lot in current times too :) The Cosette/Marius love story is my least favourite part of Les Mis (book or musical), but it leads to some of the most selfless actions from Valjean and Eponine (and a great song from Eponine), so I guess I can live with it.

    I've been dying to see the movie, but have been sick over the past few days and assumed the other movie-goers would rather hear the actors than my coughing fits. But the coughing seems to have died down, so I bought two tickets for tomorrow's matinee. Can't wait to see it!!
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  23. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    First of all, this is fiction, and it's not a documentary based on a historical person, so you can't put the narrow limits of your own experience, or of a real life story of real characters.

    Second, this was in another time, another place from where you are,

    Third, even now occasionally there are people that have been married say that they fell in love at first sight. Even if I did not know of them, I am perfectly willing to accept that these two fell in love in this story.

    There is plenty to criticize the movie for, but this is not one of them.

    Regardless of the occasional boredom, I still enjoyed the movie as a whole. I am about to order from amazon.com, Victor Hugo's book; I have read rave reviews of it.
  24. BelleBway

    BelleBway a monkey stole my title

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    Make sure to get the unabridged version. Curiously, I could not get through the abridged version but I've read the unabridged twice. (there's maybe 1 chapter I skip)
  25. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    LM is not a film that I really liked, but I'm glad to see it's doing good business. It means that there will be future movie musicals coming down the pipe line in Hollywood. The film has made about $67 millions so far in North America. I thought the audience would be mostly women and theater geeks for opening days and then the level would drop off significantly, but it didn't look like that happened. Men are going to see this film also (probably dragged by their gf, wives, though, LOL).

    You can catch the amazing singing for the Les Miserables 25th anniversary concert on utube. (The only miscast in the concert was Nick Jonas. Ugh)
  26. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    But if you do, be prepared for loooooong digressions.

    (Even though I hate abridgments as a rule, I generally recommend the abridged version of this book!)
  27. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I saw this for sale on amazon.com. The reviews echo what you just wrote. Someone wrote that the 10th anniversary concert is better.
  28. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    LOL. Just goes to show how different people are. I think I am the 'abridged version' type.
  29. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    me too, big cosette is insipid. i think that is why i dont care that amanda seyfried cant sing that well. it's somehow suitable that cosette would be boring at that too.
  30. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    Heh, looooong digressions is right. The problem I have with the abridged version is that it cuts out some of my favourite (and IMO crucial) parts, or at least the specific abridged version I read did. So I go for the full version, but make my own cuts. The first 60 or so pages on how awesome the bishop is can basically be summed up in one sentence - the bishop is a truly good man. The 70-odd page section on Waterloo has basically one crucial paragraph at the very end but can otherwise be skipped. I'm sure there are other examples, but those are the two that stick out in my mind.

    Has anyone read Jean Valjean? I've never read it, but a lot of people I know had to read it in school, around grade 7 or 8. From what I can gather, it's an abridged young adult version of Les Mis. I'm a little jealous that my class never had to read it in school...one of my brothers did, so I guess he lucked out with a different teacher than I had. It's always kind of amusing when I come across someone who has barely even heard of Les Mis, but after a few plot points are mentioned, they say "Oh, that's Jean Valjean!"
  31. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    Good point on the differentiation between big Cosette and little Cosette...I do love little Cosette and "Castle on a Cloud" is my second favourite song in the musical, after "On My Own". And the one I sing more often because "On My Own" is not in my vocal range :wuzrobbed
  32. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    Cosette is kind of an hair head in the book.

    On another note...I really LOVED the kid who played Gavroche in the movie. it is the first interpretation of the character (in the musical) that did not remind me of The Artful Dodger .
  33. martian_girl

    martian_girl New Member

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    Unpopular opinion here: I think a lot of the Tom Hooper sniping has to do with a lot of residual sour grapes for The King's Speech winning every Oscar in sight. :p


    Anyway, I personally loved it, but then again I loved the musical. I will say that the weaknesses of the original show are only magnified in the movie (the length, the earnestness, the plot holes, the fact that Marius is still a gigantic weenie :p) so I can understand those criticisms.


    That being said, I thought the acting was amazing and most of the cast was up to the task vocally (Crowe wasn't bad, but anyone expecting a powerhouse Javert performance will be disappointed).
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  34. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I don't have any sour grapes about TKS. It did not win ALL the Oscars (Helena B-C did not win the supporting actress Oscar). I liked the movie very much. I thought the Social Network was slightly better, but I was OK with the Kings speech winning Best pic, Best actor, Best director.

    I did not think Hooper was bad, but he could have done a better job. I still enjoyed Les Mis, with its imperfections. The only acting job I did not like belonged to Amanda S. It wasn't just her singing, it was the whole thing, because everyone else was so much better. Even Russell Crowe was not as terrible as some posters seem to think. May be they have seen better acting playing that character and I have not. I loved the story, and I wondered what it would be like without the singing. It's powerful drama, with the good and bad qualities of human beings.
  35. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    Watch this guy as Javart (Philip Quast)-then you will realize how the part is supposed to be played, and how bad Russell Crow sucks LOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7mSoBiSANc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFr6nk4ry4Y

    Then watch Russell Crowe

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6qGqdaNIJM
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  36. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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  37. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with that. Although I didn't care for The King's Speech, I was looking forward to Les Miserables as I want to see the musical genre be successful in Hollywood. I think criticizing the heavy reliance on close-ups and fish-eye lenses and in essence filming most of the musical numbers the same way which makes for a repetitive experience, the tendency to demand pity from the audience for characters by hammering their sufferings into the audience's head, and the lack of character development for those who appear in the second part of the film are valid criticisms. Many might disagree for sure, but I don't think people who don't like the film do so simply because they are bitter about The King's Speech winning Best Picture.
  38. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    He just SOUNDS like Javart should sound.

    I also really enjoy Terrance Mann on the Original Broadway Recording but have never found anything on youtube other than a One Day More performance at the Tonys. I would like to see a live performance of him. His Javart sounds pretty good too.
  39. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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  40. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

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    I sang Castle On a Cloud for my first vocal performance in school. I was so shy at the time so it was the perfect song to sing. Les Miserable was something we sang in choir when I was in grade 9. We sang Phantom in grade 10.

    I have a pretty broad vocal range. Not sure how many octaves but I can sing Cher/ Heart right up to Sarah Brightman. I remember in vocal warm ups I would still be singing in the higher range and everyone else was done. 'On My Own', 'Pie Jesu', 'Phantom of The Opera' (the song) are all within my ability and my favourite songs to sing even to this day.

    I am going to see the movie this weekend and realy looking forward to it. Javert and Eponine are my favourite characters in the show... On My Own, Confrontation and Stars are my fave songs.

    As for the anniversary specials for Les Miz... the 10th anniversary is by far the better version for sure. Ramon and Samantha made the 25th anniversary for me though. They are amazing singers.

    Has anyone seen the 2000 version of Les Miz? Here is a link to part one of the miniseries and I am going to watch it on a night shift at work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcBQtqxFEvI
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013