Yes, I normally review restaurants and other “eateries”, but I just had to share my views with you about this movie! So, here goes nothing…
I will begin by saying that I learned something by going to this movie. I had always thought that the title, “Les Miserables” referred to the lowly, desperate, “miserable” people who eaked out a meager existence in Paris before the French Revolution. But after seeing the movie I now know the title, “Les Miserables” actually refers to the people sitting in the theater!
The movie covers a time period of 17 years (1815-1832) and I think it was shot in real time because that’s how long it seemed to take to get to the ending! To be fair, it was beautifully photographed and staged. Every frame was pretty much a work of art. Too bad a classic painting is more exciting to look at than this movie!.
On a positive note Hugh Jackman was in this movie. There is NOTHING this guy can’t do. He is a masterful actor and a world-class singer. His performance is Oscar-worthy! Other than Mr. Jackman’s superb performance and the beautiful cinematography there is nothing else to praise. Oh wait! I forgot about Russel Crowe! If only the cast agent had as well. His performance was EMBARRASSING! Watching him think he was singing was part painful and part laughable . I found myself wondering if after filming each scene of his scenes the crew would then hurry back behind the sets and let out all of the laughter they had been containing during the filming. To me it seemed that Crowe was as uncomfortable as the new kid taking his first shower in PE class…they don’t do that anymore, but there was a time…
Oh and let’s not forget about Anne Hathaway. Everyone in Hollywood seems to be falling all over themselves praising her performance. In my opinion she was overly-dramatic and way over the top in her portrayal of Fantine. True this was one tortured character but I feel that Miss Hathaway’s performance lacked depth and relied more on sobbing and waling than in tortured intensity.
To continue, this film was directed by Tom Hooper, who also directed “The King’s Speech” and a bunch of other little known mini- series and movies. Mr. Hooper must be near-sighted because virtually every scene with an actor or actress singing was filmed with the camera so close to their faces you could count their noise hairs. I was trying to push my seat back just to get some space. I assume the camera assistants had to wipe the lenses off after each scene.
And lets talk, “Musical”. To me a musical is a movie with some dialog and several songs. The characters interact with each other by actually speaking and then periodically they break into a song. For example, “Grease”, “West Side Story”, and “The Sound of Music” to name a few. “Les Miserables – unbeknownst to me- had about 30 words spoken through the entire movie. It would have been so much more enjoyable if the characters didn’t have to sing every line of dialog. With the featured songs already contained in “Les Miserables” it would still have been a musical – only a much more enjoyable one. In fact, there is nothing “musical” about listening to characters “say-singing” their lines. “Say-singing”…I just made that up. It’s like when a 3 yr old child makes up a song using the same 3 or 4 notes sung over and over again. They are sort of “say-singing” it.
In short, this movie was too long, miscast, poorly-directed and far from being riveting or entertaining. On behalf of everyone involved in the making of this film I apologize to you, Victor Hugo – I am sure you never envisioned back in 1862 – that your classic novel could be converted into a cinematic sleep-aide.