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Les Miserables - the movie

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

  1. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    It works very well. She also sings it later, which I think makes it even more poignant- at this point in the movie, she has lived a truly horror-filled life, in the play, she sings it so much earlier, so it makes sense she isn't quite so angry and pissed, though I agree it is too pretty of a song for what its meaning is.

    Well, like I said- I was set for him to ruin the show for me, so I was happy he didn't. And HBC could act circles around most people. Besides- it was in character :) He's the lazy innkeeper, his wife does all the real work :)

    As for the conversation about poor direction choices- the camera work for Gatsby looks horrendous. Very Moulin Rouge like (which makes sense, same director). It did inspire me to re-read the book though, as I don't remember anything I saw in the preview being in the book. Just that the book was so boring, but I was also in high school.
  2. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Mm, I would have said completely emotionally wrecked rather than angry. But it fits with what you're saying, and yeah, it works.
  3. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    Just saw it today-overall I LOVED it. Random notes...

    Fantine's doomed life is so much more...I don't know...in your face in the movie-Lovely Ladies was very dark where as in the musical, it is somewhat of a comic relief part. I thought Anne Hathaway was amazing.

    I thought Hugh Jackman was amazing.

    I loved the barricade scenes the best- I LOVED Enjolras. Why they hell didn't Eponine go for him?

    I realy didn't like Marius at all. What was with his vibrato? Distracting. And I really don't mean to sound shallow, but I have a hard time believing someone would fall inlove with him at first sight LOL. And to me, no one compares to Michael Ball.

    I am glad I had no expectations for Russelle Crowe. He was horrible. The movie would have been that much more amazing if someone would could play that role was in it. Really, really disappointing.

    I thought all the changes really worked-I noticed all of them. I loved at the end when the Bishop was there and I loved that the Bishop was Colm Wilkinson, and also enjoyed seeing Frances Ruffelle.

    Oh...Maruis's grandfather really threw me off at the end.

    I wish Master of the House had been funnier instead of as dark as it was.

    I thought Eponine was good but her waist (or lack of it) was very distracting. I was wondering how she was breathing the whole time.

    The close ups really did not bother me-I really did not notice

    The other stuff I want to talk about-I cannot because they may be spoilers for people who have never seen it.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  4. PRlady

    PRlady foot in both camps

    How dare you suggest I've been within even three miles of a Twilight film? :drama:

    I have to admit that as Victor Hugo novels go, I liked Hunchback of Notre Dame -- yes, the cartoon version with Demi Moore as Emeralda's voice -- better than this.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  5. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I saw the movie today. I was overall underwhelmed by it and thought it went on a bit too long. I was expecting to experience a roller coaster of emotion, but it didn't happen for me. Surprisingly I didn't feel anything during IDAD. I kept thinking how different it looked and sounded from the trailer. I did shed some tears at the end, but it was hard not to when nearly all the characters on screen were bawling their eyes out.

    Things I did not like:
    1. Crowe was distractingly bland throughout most of his singing and acting. I didn't get any emotion out of him.
    2. I didn't find either Sacha Baron Cohen or Helena Bonham Carter's character to be funny.
    3. I agree that some of the shots are distractingly out of place. It looks like this film is the first time that the director has ever used a super wide angle lens, because it doesn't look like he knows exactly what to do with it; The wide angle shots jarringly appear and disappear out of nowhere. Also,what's the deal with tilting the camera angle in some of the shots? It just make me go "Huh?"
    4. Amanda Seyfried has a lovely voice in small dose, but the high-pitch that she used got old fast.
    5. Yes, I too thought Val Jean approaching Cosette in the wood in the dark and how easily she accepted him at that meeting was creepy, but I was thinking with today's mindset.
    6. There seems to be too many slow song, especially in the second half.
    7. The background orchestration went for the full sweeping effect that sometimes didn't match the raw, weaker singing style of some of the actors. So in some instances I thought it would've been better to have had the actors lip-synch instead of singing live.

    Things I liked:
    1. Samantha Barks was very good.
    2. Redmayne's Empty Chair number was one of the more effective performances in the film.

    It's an ok movie for me, but not something I would personally pay $9.50 to sit through again. I think the singing works for the film, but I can't imagine listening to a CD of it
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  6. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    Was going to see it with my daughter and my son's girlfriend tonight. But, my daughter is sick (probably a sinus infection) and it's snowing. So, it will have to wait. I've been listening to the 10th Anniversary album on my iPhone, while I walk. I probably should stop and give the movie a break. :lol:

    It's been a while since I saw the musical as a play. I'm more used to the 10th and 25th performances. But, I don't recall actually seeing Valjean meeting up with Cosette in the woods. I remember him being in the "Inn" and telling the Thenardiers that he'd found her wandering in the wood.

    Amanda Seyfried has a nice voice for pop - that is why she did well in Mama Mia. But, she doesn't have the powerful soprano for Cosette. She forces a much higher register than she has, which sounds tinny, and a vibrato which is annoying. And that is just from listening to the cuts that I've heard.

    That is probably the problem with Jackman, as well. He has a really good voice, but he's not a tenor. Valjean sings at least one octave higher than Jackman's natural voice.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  7. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

    Amanda Seyfried's voice bothered me much less in the actual movie than it did during the snippets and clips I watched on YouTube.
  8. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    That's good to know, thanks.
  9. DaveRocks

    DaveRocks Wheeeeeeee!

    To offer another opinion on Seyfried's voice in Les Mis: It bothered the hell out of me. She sounded atrocious. It was like clawing your finger nails down a chalkboard every time she opened her mouth.

    Otherwise, I thought the movie was fantastic. The portrayals of Marius, Eponine and Gavroche were especially excellent.
    BigB08822 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Well, I think what you're hinting at is lust, not love ;)
  11. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I saw it this morning (the theater was only half filled). I purposely avoided this thread until after I had seen the movie because I did not want to have any preconceptions.

    I thought it was a very good movie overall, but it dragged in places. I would have liked it to be shorter by about 20-30 minutes. Hugh Jackman was great. Anne Hathaway was very good but she had only a short screen time, which was disappointing. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen actually had more screen time. Samantha Barks was good. Amanda Seyfried is the only one I did not like. All other actors were good in their roles (Russell Crowe a little less so- ETA- my expectations of him were close to zero). I cried during "I dreamed a dream" and "Bring him home (the last one)". The sets and scenes were spectacular, and I enjoyed the songs.

    The frequent close ups bothered me a lot. Little girl Cossett needed a better director to help her perform better. Too much shaking of the head and smiling where it was not needed.

    IMO Hugh Jackman totally carried this movie. It's a pity he has to compete against Daniel Day Lewis at the Oscars.

    Overall I would give it 8 out of 10.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  12. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    Um, that's because the Disney version of Hunchback, while in many ways very different from the book, is still completely awesome, and gorgeous, and also has this scene, which is both the coolest and least-appropriate scene I've ever encountered in a cartoon meant for children. Love it.
  13. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    :lol: I wouldn't have either, if I hadn't had to review them. It was all I could do, at the end of the last one, not to stand right up in the theater and yell, "Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"
    dinakt and (deleted member) like this.
  14. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

    Holy crap! :wideeyes: I've never seen that movie. That is one hell of a song for a kid's movie. I'll have to watch it sometime.
  15. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    No pun intended, right? ;) (And yeah, it sure is!)
  16. Bunny Hop

    Bunny Hop Perpetually learning Dutch Waltz

    Pretty much exactly how I felt as well. The girl playing Eponine was great. I see from someone else's post that she was in one of the stage versions, and it showed. She was also the only one who was allowed to do anything other than being in close up whilst singing. I found the direction very annoying. Most of it was so static. With the flexibility offered by making a motion picture, away from the constraints of the stage, why not use that? I don't think it's that this musical works better on stage - there was lots that could have been done.

    Don't get me wrong, I didn't dislike it, but it was looooong (I don't do well with long films) and did drag in parts.

    I thought Hugh Jackman was fine, and didn't notice the faults in the singing others have mentioned, and he has at least done musicals before. I didn't expect much of Russell Crowe, so wasn't that disappointed, but there's something to be said for the old style musical practice of dubbing weaker voices with those of someone who can sing properly.

    Yes, she was singing it in despair, which worked much better. It's actually not a happy song if you listen to it properly.
    Ohhhh, that's what I'd seen her in before. No wonder I didn't like her. I hated Mamma Mia. Actually, that's one positive thing I can say about Russell Crowe - at least he could sing better than Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia. :lol:
  17. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    We saw it tonight and I really liked it. I know nothing about the stage version so I have nothing to compare it to. For me, the strongest were Hathaway and the girl who played Eponine. Crowe's voice didn't sound like it belonged in a musical. Isn't he in a band? I imagine his voice translates much better to rock. It wasn't a bad voice, just not for this type of thing. Seyfried's voice bothered me the most. Way too much vibrato and always singing so high. No depth to it, very thin. I felt she was completely miscast and she actually bothered me every time she was singing.
  18. Bunny Hop

    Bunny Hop Perpetually learning Dutch Waltz

    Yes. He used to be in a band called 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, although I vaguely recall that he's changed its name/got a new band since then. Don't follow his career, so not sure, but news about him tends to filter through here whether you want to hear it or not.
  19. kylet3

    kylet3 Well-Known Member

    Back from the movie with a friend and we both had the same issue... the movie just dragged on way too much in most places. The absolute highlight for me was Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, both very good and enjoyable. Hugh Jackman was solid but had some upper register issues. Amanda Seyfried annoyed the hell outta me. She sounded like a chipmunk and the vibrato was way too excessive.

    While there were some solid moments there were others that really weren't as good for me. So it wasn't my favorite ever. Then again I haven't really been impressed with the last couple Oscar contenders that I've seen (this and Lincoln). But I really hope Anne Hathaway wins, she really played the tortured soul to a tee and it was great. Other than that, completely forgettable in my mind.
  20. DBZ

    DBZ Well-Known Member

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt the same way. I initially didn't know what it was exactly, but I never felt fully engaged with the characters or story.

    To quickly preface: I've never seen Les Mis before, but was well aware of (and loved!) the music and all the iconic songs going in, i.e. "Bring Him Home," "One Day More," and of course "I Dreamed a Dream." I thought the trailer was excellent and was instantly moved in hearing just those small snippets of Anne's raw rendition of IDAD. I thought, if a trailer can make me feel this, I'm going to be a mess watching the film.

    Yet, when I saw it tonight, I felt incredibly detached from the emotional impact of most of the songs, even Anne's IDAD, and most of the film in general. In retrospect, I think one major aspect that contributed to this was the way the entire movie was performed in a sing-speak manner, where all the exposition, plot and character interaction was communicated through song. There wasn't any real dialogue exchanged between the characters at all.

    That surprised me. I'm assuming this is how the musical is performed on stage, but for me, I thought it really hindered my ability to connect and relate to the characters' struggles both in the story and between each other.

    I guess I was expecting a more traditional movie-musical like The Sound of Music or West Side Story, ones that managed to intersperse its songs and singing with real spoken dialogue--dialogue that would set up character backstory, motivation and conflict, so when you ultimately got to the big songs or numbers, they would accentuate and enhance the emotional undercurrent that was already previously established during the spoken--or "acting,"--scenes. Those scenes set up the musical numbers.

    As this stood, it seemed to me like the director decided to literally translate the stage musical over to the screen as is, without crafting a script to fill in and flesh out the characters. The sing-speak might work on stage, but I think that's a horrible creative choice in terms of translating a musical effectively to cinema. You have to adapt it for the screen. They are vastly different mediums, and people approach and absorb them differently.

    By never letting the characters speak to each other, but only sing, I feel like there was a vast depth of character development that never got tapped, and thus I didn't really care for them as real people.

    As a laymen viewing this story for the first time, I had so many questions about motivations and exposition. Like, exactly how does Valjean go from being an outlaw to a wealthy mayor? Never explained. Why are Fantine's coworkers so nasty to her? Why does Eponine love Marius so much? Why do Cosette and Marius love each other? Why is Valjean so committed to Marius' well-being? Most of these are questions about character motivation, which I think directly impacts how we feel during those iconic songs.

    Like, for example, "Bring Him Home." When Valjean is singing, "He's like the son I might have known...," all I'm thinking is, "Really?" How is he like a son to you? You've just met him, and you've barely spoken to him. Why do you give a crap about him? Because he has the hots for your daughter?

    That's just one of many examples where, had they given us a few set-up scenes--maybe of Valjean and Marius interacting before that--I might have felt the sentiment and emotion being expressed in that amazing song as more genuine. But as it was, it left me cold.
  21. PRlady

    PRlady foot in both camps

    Oh, YES! Hatred & lust, just what you need in a kids' movie. PRkid was eight years old or so and I had some interesting explanations after the movie. Not to mention explaining gothic Catholicism to a Jewish kid.

    And I completely agree that the big problem in Les Miz is character motivation. Cosette is such a cipher and Marius a sentimental weakling -- give me Enjolras any day -- and here you have all these characters risking and dying for them. Fantine's devotion makes sense without exposition, she's a mom, but Valjean carrying Marius through the sewer? Because? Eponine's love for Marius whom if she had she would discover is not as strong as she is? And so on. And the moral of the story, that in loving a person one finds God, is third-grade theology and tendentious.

    OK, enough criticism from me. The movie did remind me that it would be nice to go back to Paris, but then, so did Ratatouille. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  22. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    The entire stage musical is sung. But, not sing/speak. That is something I've noticed in the snippets, that really bothered me. The staging of the musical (on stage) helps to develop the characters. It also gives a sense of time passing.
  23. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I don't think some of these issues need a detailed explanation. Neither the film nor the broadway show has the time to do it, and some of the issues can be interpreted from watching the movie:
    1. I think Fantine coworkers were jealous of Fantine; They were jealous her youth, beauty and how she constantly resisted the foreman's advances as if she had higher moral standards than the rest of them.
    2. Corsette and Marius had a "love at first sight" thing. While I don't believe in such nonsense :), I'm sure you've heard many people in real life claim that they fell in love with their spouse the moment they laid their eyes on them. So it wasn't that difficult to buy into that love story, although it was a bit much and was more like an infatuation than love.

    3. Valjean was committed to Marius' well-being, because he saw Marius as a person that could take care of Cosette and make her happy and give her a life. Vajlean realized that he couldn't/wouldn't be around forever to protect Cosette, and he couldn't continue this life of constantly running away from the law, depriving Corsette of having a life. Once Valjean realized that Cosette was in love (or was infatuated) with Marius, he saw that it was a perfect opportunity to break the bond between Valjean and Cosette for Cosette's benefits.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  24. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    I just wrote this long reply to DZB and now it is nowhere to be found LOL but I basically wrote the same thing as Orbitz- Fantine's co workers are jealous of her, Cosette and Marius fall in love at first sight, and Valjean wants to save Marius because he knows once he dies, Cosette will be alone and he does not want her to be alone because of him keeping her secluded for her whole life. Eponine's love for Marius I think is more...like...a way for her to escape her life. She imagines them together and when she does that she feels all magical but when reality hits her that they are not together-she is aware of who she is (a thief and criminal) and what her life is really like. (This is described in the lyrics of On My Own). I think her love for Marius is more of an escape from reality and that is why she is almost stalkerish toward him.

    Now granted, I have been a fan of the musical since 1987 at 10 years old, so I have had 25 years to think about these things, so maybe it is not apparent for first time viewers LOL.
  25. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    There's a really interesting line in the book about Valjean and Marius: When Valjean is carrying Marius through the sewers and stops to rest, he looks at Marius with "inexpressible hatred." He can't stand the guy because Marius is in love with his daughter and going to take her away from him, but he has to save him (and undergo an extremely gruesome experience to do so) for the sake of Cosette's happiness. It's a powerful statement about Valjean's character.

    But I guess the makers of the musical thought that might not go over so well with theatrical audiences. :) (And I'll admit, I think "Bring Him Home" is a lovely moment!)
  26. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    I totally understand! The first time I saw it on Broadway, I loved it. The second time I loved it more, because I picked up on the nuance. The several hundred times I've watched the 10th & 25th Anniversary performances and listened to the CDs, I grew to love it even more. The Anniversary performances are not really staged like the play, but it would be worth it for those who have not seen it to rent it. The vocals are fantastic! I am especially fond of the 10th version. But I adore Lea Solonga as Eponine, Colm wilkenson as Valjean, Judy Kuhn as Cosette, Ruthie Henchel as Fantine, and Philip Quast as Javert.
  27. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

    I actually did not see it until I was 12 or 13 but my parents went to see it and bought the tape home(hahaha) when I was 10. And I heard On My Own and I was HOOKED and wanted to know everything about the story. I remember FINALLY going to see it thinking it was the greatest day of my life LOL.

    I love the 10th anniversary concert too-my only change would be Frances Ruffelle as Eponine but I like Lea Salonga too. Philip Quast is AMAZING as Javart.

    While I really enjoyed the movie, the singing cannot be compared to the actors on Broadway. One thing I noticed in the movie is that really no one belted out their big solos. Even On My Own was not sung as a big power ballad-I guess that is what the movie was going for...a more intimate feeling that I don't think could be accomplished if people were belting out notes all over the place. Or maybe everyone was told to take it down a notch so Russell Crowe did not suck that much more LOL.
  28. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

  29. Lurking Skater

    Lurking Skater Ms Lurker if you're nasty

    In my fantasy version of Les Mis, that's exactly what happens. Cosette and Marius can have each other.

    I loved it. I also came in assuming Russell Crowe would be horrible and it would be nothing like the stage version. I though both he and Amanda Seyfried were better than what the preview clips showed of them.

    I never liked Colm Wilkinson, didn't need him in the move.

    After reading all the comparisons with the book, I feel motivated to read it now.
  30. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    Except, these musicals do this in their stage shows too. Les Mis is more of an opera style show (like Rent) where there isn't speaking. There are other Les Mis films meant to be interpretation of the book, this was meant to be an interpretation of the show. I am very glad they did not add dialogue.

    Most of these things are not answered any more in the show either, but I think all except the first are answered in the songs. For the first- I always assumed Valjean did exactly what the bishop told him to "use this silver to become an honest man". He sold it, got enough money to reinvent himself, moved to a town where no one knew him and took up life as a nobleman(kind of Count of Monte Cristo like), as his factory did well, he became mayor. In the book it apparently has something to do with him revitalizing the town by bringing in new manufacturing techniques that allow them to be competitive again. Although it is hard to get the meaning of the songs only hearing them once, I think it is clear that Fantine's coworkers are jealous of her, Cosette/Marius are love at first sight (also not in the book- it took time), Eponine and Marius are friends and he has 'friend zoned' her, and Valjean wants someone to take care of Cosette. There are lots of movies that require multiple watchings to get all the details to make sense (and not just musicals), you really have to comprehend the songs to get all that. None of it seems unrealistic beyond the general suspension of disbelief of a movie.

    Sorry you didn't like it. I had to see the show more than once before I really understood what was going on, and the staging of it makes it even harder to figure out- because you don't see things as being 'real'. For instance, rather than seeing hundreds of people living in poverty, you just see a dozen walking around in a moving circle.

    If you want to see it where it is more story, less music, try the 1998 version. I actually don't think there is any singing there, just the book adaptation. (Though like most movies, they also made significant changes to the book.)