The sheer size of this production has brought Victor Hugo’s story to life in a way the stage never could. The film opens with hundreds of prisoners pulling an immense ship in to port: just the fractional, gradual movement of the ship creates waves massive enough to crash over the men on the ground level. This summarizes this production, as compared to the stage—it’s simply bigger. The film provides the audience with vision into Valjean’s fully operating factory; the Parisian skyline complete with the Notre Dame cathedral sits behind Javert’s promise to the Stars; we experience intimately the puddles of blood the women wash away after the Second Attack; and The Sewers of Paris become disgustingly real on the big screen. Les Miserables is a story that has deserved a transformation of this magnitude for quite some time now.
The production of Les Miserables into a musical is what catalyzed this story’s popularity and captivated the hearts of millions worldwide. The casts of old have created a lofty bar to which all future casts will (even if unfairly) be measured. The 2012 production accepted a brave undertaking: to film Les Miserables using a live score. Whereas many musicals-turned-movies use a studio-recorded soundtrack, here we have their raw performances. That being said, this film cannot be enjoyed if one expects this cast to out-sing the 10th Anniversary. What the main cast lacks in stellar vocal performances, they make up quite well for in their acting savoir-faire. The combination of Tom Hooper’s direction and the cast’s top-notch acting allows any die-hard originalist fan to—mostly—forgive when the singing falls short. Some numbers, although normally belted out operatically, are adjusted to be naturally said, more true-to-screen performances.
On Parole/The Bishop
Colm Wilkinson is wonderful in his new role as The Bishop. (cried)
Great scene. Perfect example of the actor’s acting performances making up for their singing performances, although Hugh Jackman certainly holds his own in this song. (cried)
At the End of the Day
Great direction in this scene.
I Dreamed a Dream
This may have been the scene I was dreading/fearing the most. I loved it. Purely genius to use one unbroken close-up shot of Fantine’s face. Captured so effectively the despair of the character. (cried)
Castle on a Cloud
Young Cosette is WONDERFUL! Great casting.
Master of the House
Great directing. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen work well together. Provided the right amount of comic relief. This scene is very well done.
Gavroche is also another well-casted character!
Loved the directing. Russel Crowe’s performance is under a lot of heat by some. His singing, even amongst a mediocre group, leaves much to be desired. Acting carried his performance, if only so far.
Red and Black
Enjolras (don’t know his actor’s name) impressed me and so did Marius.
Do You Hear the People Sing?
Perhaps the most well-known song of the musical was done well in the film.
A Heart Full of Love
I have no quarrels with Seyfried (Cosette). She did exactly as well as I expected someone like her to do in a role like that. She was fine.
One Day More
Even if not well-sung, how can you not enjoy this song?
On My Own
Didn’t enjoy Samantha Barks. (Still cried.)
Little Fall of Rain
Well-done scene. Acting.
Bring Him Home
Javert’s _________ [Not saying it, in case of spoilers]
Very well-done direction; great parellel to Stars.
Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
Well done, Marius.
Again, what this movie has going for it is its directing and its impressive acting cast. Also, the mere story itself is so good, one would find themselves hard-pressed to tell it badly. The music is so well-written as well that, even when sung mediocrely, the sharpest critic can still be moved.
So sleepy now. Wish I could have spent more time on this. Also, first Tumblr Post of the year! And the first post since… September 12, 2012.