So much to talk about! So many feelings! Must organize thoughts in list form!
1) The casting is amazing. I mean, we all knew Hugh Jackman would pull off as much badassdom as he could muster. But I wouldn’t even call his the most striking performance. You’re probably tired of hearing it already, but Anne Hathaway is so amazing, that at the end, when her spirit comes to help Valjean die, just seeing her face once again made me sob hysterically. Another stand-out performance was Eddie Redmayne, who filled his Marius with excitement, wonder, depth (*gasp*) and likeability. From a young man giddy with first love to a revolutionary mourning his friends, he’s just really a joy to watch. Now I finally understand why Eponine longs for him so.
Can we also just mention how amazing Gavroche is? Just the cherry on top of a slice of awesome pie.
2) There are moments, as my sister told me after our family watching party, where everything just feels perfect. Valjean ripping up his parole papers. Fantine hyperventilating during “I Dreamed a Dream,” the ending, riding around with Gavroche through the streets of France, “One Day More,” Javert giving his medal to Gavroche.
3) Everything is visually stunning, particularly the sets. So much so that sometimes it works against the film because it takes you out of the film itself.
4) All the extras are so helpful to understanding the story. We are given insight into what life for Valjean is like immediately after his release. Why Fantine is fired. The background for the student uprising at the funeral of LeMarc. It all makes sense now! Of course, with all the additions, one must face cuts. But no worries! They’re all done tastefully and rationally.
5) I don’t care what everyone else says! I love “Suddenly”! I also didn’t mind the Thernadiers as much as everyone else seems to. Yes, they’re a bit vaudeville and a bit out-of-sorts with the rest of the film, but who doesn’t want a few laughs after nearly an hour of depressing death and sadness. Perhaps their final scene in the marriage could have been cut down (just their appearance in those ridiculous outfits would have sufficed to breathe some air into the wedding) but that’s…pretty…much…it.
1) ahem Russell Crowe’s singing ahem. Theoretically, this was a great casting choice. In practice, it’s not. His voice. It lacks power. Sometimes it lacks notes. And honestly, Tom Hooper, for every other character you do these intense close-ups. You leave all the sweeping city shots for Javert, which just emphasizes how weak his voice is.
2) Transitions between songs were a bit hasty and distasteful. I say distasteful because, well, no sooner has Fantine sung her final “dreamed” or Marius his final goodbye, than OKAY, BACK TO THE STORY—- CUT— AND MOVE ON! It felt almost disrespectful.
3) Sometimes the sets and the action were just SO bombastic, it was cheesy and annoying. This didn’t happen too often. I’d single out two such scenes. Well, one is more general- SO MANY FLAGS! SO MANY FLAGS! ENOUGH WITH THE FLAGS! and the sink in the Seine, into which Javert falls (and misses)?A little less bludgeoning over the head would have been nice. And I think I speak for both me and Javert when I say that.
I really have nothing to say in this section besides, Maybe we could’ve given Valjean a second or two to wipe the shit off his face before his final meeting with Javert? Maybe a “Oh look! a drainpipe nearby so I can actually let people see my features!”
Click here for Part 2.