Friday, 22 February 2013

The movie review you've all been waiting for. Right? RIGHT?

So, you know how you've all been crying out for my critique of Les Mis: THE MOVIE EXPERIENCE? Here it is at last.

Why did it take me so long to go to see it? I'm an absolute sucker for this musical - I've only seen it once on stage, but I've listened to it endlessly, and I've been known to clear a room at karaoke frequently with my dazzling rendition of "On My Own". And yet, several weeks after release and with only days to go until the Oscars, I still had not gone to see it. Why? Why? Well, I've been thinking about that, and here are my conclusions on my reasons for not seeing Les Mis, in pie chart form:

Then on Wednesday night I admitted to my two sisters, my frequent partners in Les Mis singalongs (usually while in the car), that I had not yet seen it, and I was immediately subjected to such derision that I had to revisit my choices. To be honest, I still might not have gone (I tend to react in a strongly counter-suggestive way to peer pressure) but my sister, in Hong Kong, googled film times for places near me, in New York. You just can't fight that sort of commitment.

So I saw it. And I present to you my conclusions as presented to my sisters by e-mail immediately after the viewing. I should probably be embarrassed at showing the world [/my eight readers] the sort of obnoxious language my sisters and I use when e-mailing each other, but I think you'll all probably get over it. Oh, um, SPOILERS? I guess? Anyway:

Jackman - really good. I bet he thought this was his Oscar shot and wishes Daniel Day Lewis was dead.

Hathaway - yeah, ok, good. But every award going? Really? There is really noone else anywhere in any film this year who might for one award be considered better? Hmmm.

Redmayne - good. Bit Kermity when he's trying to sing high and be emosh, but nice falsetto and Empty Chairs was great.

Angry Nancy - good to see Angry Nancy in a part that allows her to be Angry. Well-played, casting director.

Cosette - Holy Vibrato, Batman! Liked her though.

Thenardiers - whatevs.

Enjolras - yeah. Liked him. Yeah. A bit Young Julian Ovenden, no?

Crowe - whose idea was that? Srsly. I actually thought Stars wasn't too bad, probs because it's all so low, but his opening bit at the hard labour prison was an absolute clusterfuck. Did anyone else think it was all a bit... Bowwwwwiiiiieeee?

[Bonus insert from an e-mail from younger sister, in which she offered to recap the whole film for me in excruciating detail, beginning with the following description of the opening scene: "Javert inhaled deeply, puffing out his barrel like chest to proportions only ever seen before in Wagner and, looking down on the grizzled, soaking features of wolverine/jean valjean/curly from Oklahoma, mewed a warning about parole or something, in the timbre of a soprano kitten."]

I cried three times, though only mildly - death of Eponine (surprised myself with that one, but I think Redmayne was selling it HARD), Crowe finding dead Gavroche, and Jackman dying, obvs.

Good to see some Brit musical theatre stalwarts hidden under some wigs and make-up. Adrian Scarborough! Daniel Evans! Bertie Carvel! Hannah Waddingham! Nice to see them getting out and about. I bet the first time they heard Crowe "sing" they were totes WTF.

There you have it. That's what I thought of Les Mis. And I'm ashamed to say that I'll almost certainly go again...


Anonymous said...

Kermity! Thank you, that is EXACTLY what Redmayne was! Or is. Still liked him though.

Miss Jones

katetf said...

Yup. He's singing at the Oscars, you know. Sadly I don't think he'll be singing The Rainbow Connection. A MISSED OPPORTUNITY.

Robert Hudson said...

Thought Jackman was also a problem, actually.

I think Kathaway gets all the prizes because hers was the individual song which really worked. I am a big Les Mis fan, but the lyrics are bad and they only work in the context of a big voice singing the big songs in big sizes; not quite opera logic but certainly you can't get away with acting like you can - more - in something like Sondheim. Jackman had to rely on a not very big voice and acting but he was acting awful lines, and I didn't think any of those songs really worked, though, as you say, not a disaster.

I went with two Les Mis first timers. When I played them some proper Javert and proper Viljean afterwards, they went: oh, I see how those songs work. I thought they were ropey.

Student stuff was great because, basically, you had a load of people who could sing.