As you all no doubt are aware, I’m a huge fan of Les Misérables. I saw the film last might, and in short… it blew my mind. Admittedly, before viewing I was a bit sceptical about the potential for changing things as I’m so attached to the stage show, but as soon as it started I relaxed and just went with the flow because I got the same chills as I do at the stage show when I heard the opening strains of music. It IS different, but I understood why they made the changes and thought they all worked really well! I thought it was fantastic that some elements from the book were added as well.
Hugh Jackman. What can I say? He was everything I wanted his Jean Valjean to be and infinitely more. I loved how sincere and truthful every second of his performance was, I started crying during his Soliloquy and can honestly say there wasn’t a dry moment during every single one of his songs- particularly intense moments like this were during Bring Him Home (I just heard the music start and watched his expression as he watched Marius and I was just like: ‘oh god, here we go’!) and of course his Finale– my emotional meltdown started the minute he collapsed for a moment against the step of the carriage on the way to the convent and didn’t end for the entirety of that scene. I had chest pains, the kind I only get when I’m really emotional and was constantly repeating ‘Keep it together, Kerrie’ under my breath, and had to work really hard to calm my breathing down. Oh, the things this man does to me! 😀
I’d read a few blogs and reviews where people weren’t really fussed by his voice and to that I say: to each their own. I adored it and him, throughout.
Next up, Anne Hathaway- one word: AWARDS. In my mind she was perfect as Fantine, and I said this out loud (quietly of course!) on multiple occasions. Her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream was truly something else- I loved how it came from the place where in my mind, at that point, Fantine needs to be. She’s utterly broken.
And I must say, in light of that, I have never experienced a portrayal like it, and don’t think I will again.
Now y’all know my feeling about Hadley Fraser and Tam Mutu and their respective Javerts, because of that Russell Crowe was the cause of my worry for this film – and I have to admit that while I don’t think he was the best singer by any means, I liked that he brought out a new sense of the character for me; one that rang with this imposing sense of quiet fury. Really enjoyed The Confrontation, and when in Stars he was walking along a rooftop and you can see Notre Dame in the background, and where he asked Valjean to sack him, And of course: ‘RETRIEVE THE FLAG’ 😉
There was also a really profound moment with Russell when he placed his medal on Gavroche’s chest when all the bodies were lined up after the battle, really touched me and gave a glimpse into a more ‘human’ element of my favourite character that’s missing in the show.
Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne were incredible as Eponiné and Marius. Eddie’s Empty Chairs At Empty Tables was truly gut wrenching, I made noises like a hurt puppy throughout. Goes without saying that I loved Sam’s On My Own but my fave moments of hers were during A Little Fall of Rain where she confessed to Marius about the letter, and my favourite moment of Eddie’s? ‘Get up off your arse!’ to Grantaire, the lovely George Blagden.
A very very special mention has to go to Fra Fee, Hadley Fraser, & Killian Donnelly. The barricade scenes absolutely BROKE me; especially when Killian (Combeferre) was holding a devasted Fra (Courfeyrac) in his arms following the death of the wonderful Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche. I was so ridiculously proud of all three of them, even though it was hard watching Hadley as an army officer who ordered the fatal shots!
The moments before the carnage were heartbreaking too, the barricade boys were pleading to be let into safety but to no avail, I WAS SOBBING. Also, the little exchange Hadley and Eddie had made me catch my breath- bravo Hadley 😀
If I had to be critical of anything, I would say I personally didn’t warm to Amanda Seyfried’s vocals much, and found it ridiculously annoying when Sacha’s Thenardier switched to that French accent in certain parts, I found he sang just fine during his opening lines!
Thankyou Tom Hooper and all the crew and cast for bringing a story I love so much to life in such a stunning way. It was a feast for my eyes and ears, and I fell in love all over again 😀