Les Misérables. . .Les Poo?


We decided to go see Les Misérables, let me clarify, sk decided we would all go see Les Misérables on Christmas Day. Our mourning cousin finally agreed to an activity that required her to leave the house because “once you two leave, I don’t know when I’ll go watch a movie again.” With that enthusiasm, off we went on December 25th, to go watch a movie musical based on a play which was based on a french novel by Victor Hugo of the same name. With just that knowledge, I couldn’t see how anything could go wrong.Les Mis

I will keep this post strictly focused on the movie so I will bypass the events leading up to the actual movie viewing. Also, if you are a new reader to my blog and are unfamiliar with my scientific methodology for reviewing movies, please feel free to read Inner History Nerd. Otherwise, note Santa did not bring me that watch so once again, my review will be less scientific than usual.

One thing I want to know is how long are previews allowed to last in the US before the movie begins? Does anyone know? Is there a legal time limit? In Canada, the previews are kept to a minimum, I would guess around 15 to 20 minutes, tops. But alas, we were in the States and as I already mentioned, I didn’t have a watch. If I had, I would have checked the time at least twice. So there you have it, the movie hadn’t even started and I wanted to look at the time.

And then the film began. As I said before, Les Misérables, the movie is based on Les Misérables the play, not the original book. I have not read the book so I don’t know how helpful that would have been. However, the basic gist of the movie/play/novel (I’m assuming.) is that a convict, played by Hugh Jackman, is released from jail after serving 19 years for stealing bread to feed his sister’s child. He breaks his parole and becomes the mayor of a french city. He meets this woman, former employee turned prostitute and played by Anne Hathaway. She dies but he promises to take care of her child, Cosette. All along, he is pursued by the police inspector, Russell Crowe.

From the plays and soundtrack, I never learned the entire storyline. This film finally let me make sense of all the characters and their roles. I never realized, for example, that the Thénardiers, played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, raised Cosette along with their own child, Eponine. Cohen and Carter both shined in their roles as the manipulators/con-artists and provided the comedic relief. I don’t know if these two have ever teamed up together for other roles, but they obviously complemented one another.

Eddie_Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne

Hugh Jackman as Valjean, the convict, gives a very solid performance although sometimes I felt like he was trying too hard. Very similar to how hard I had to work to stay awake. I think the character for me that steals the show is Marius Pontmercy, played by Eddie Redmayne. Marius is a student freedom fighter who falls in love with Cosette. He is the one that kept me awake, more precisely, it was his voice that kept luring my attention back to the screen. He has a very beautiful voice.

One of my main objections to this movie is all the accolades it’s receiving prior to it being released. There’s talk of best film or musical, best actors and best supporting actress awards. Really? I know the actors sang the lyrics live on set but is that reason enough to earn all that award talk? Anne Hathaway’s name comes up for Best Supporting Actress. What? She’s onscreen for 30 minutes or so. During her “poignant” scene, i.e. her only solo performance, “I Dreamed a Dream,” in an entire movie that ran for more than two hours, all I wanted to do was throw her a handkerchief in hope that she would wipe her nose.

Which brings up another issue I have with this movie; all the close-ups. I don’t want to feel the need to wipe the snot from Anne’s face. I don’t want to feel like playing connect the dots with Eddie Redmayne’s freckles. Please, back the camera up so the audience can get a better idea of the scene around the character(s). This may help us understand the movie even more.

This film is truly a musical on screen. There are no speaking parts. A word or two maybe uttered once in a great while but never an entire sentence. Think more along the lines of Jesus Christ Superstar and not Mamma Mia. Both of those musicals were also made into movies but only Mamma Mia included speaking roles. That film had respected actors (Meryl Streep and Pierce Bronson) known for their acting that would break out into song every now and then. Unlike Les Misérables, the well-known actors are now operatic singers and not much else. Sorry, Mr. Crowe, you missed your calling in this role but I will give you kudos for stepping out of your comfort zone.

Did I mention the length of the film? The movie runs for a whopping 2 hours and 38 minutes. How does one sit in those chairs for that amount of time and not have your ass fall asleep? And apparently, according to some, it’s an emotional rollercoaster. All I’m suggesting is that you come prepared; bring the tissues, wear the comfy pants and monitor your food and liquid intake because it will be a while before you can tend to those needs. And correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this movie set in France? Then can anyone explain to me why the only accent I heard was British?

If you are a fan of Les Misérables, the play, I think you will enjoy this movie. The film will offer more detail and clarify finer points that a play may leave for interpretation. I don’t think the average fan of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe or Anne Hathaway will come away overjoyed. Mr. Jackman and Mr. Crowe are the two main characters but how many of their average fans want to watch them, up-close, singing? And anyone attending because of Anne will be asleep within forty minutes because her character dies but fear not, she does get one more appearance at the very end of the film. The supporting cast, all those who portrayed the freedom fighters, Cosette (The young girl and older woman.), Marius, Eponine and Gavroche, a street urchin boy played by Daniel Huttlestone, really do save the day.

movie-sleeping

Movie Sleeping

Out of 5 stars, I give Les Misérables one and a half. I almost fell asleep several times throughout the second half of the film and if I had a watch on my wrist I’m pretty sure I would’ve lost count or drawn the ire of sk from glancing at my wrist so often. All I wanted to know was when I could stand up from that chair, move around a bit so my ass would come back to life. The one star is for the supporting cast members and the half star is for the clarification the film provides. You know, I like a good musical as much as the next soft butch, however there are some musical plays that should really stay musical plays. This is probably one of them.

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13 thoughts on “Les Misérables. . .Les Poo?

  1. Great review. Let this be an educational resource for future generations. Take note, producers, and learn from the mistakes of Rock of Ages and the accomplishments of Les Miserables.

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  2. Great review !! I always love your “take” and this is no exception. I was never really planning to see this film and the 2 hours and 38 minutes settles it. For one thing I can only take women emoting at each other for any length of time. and maybe nothing for that long. My ass and my attention span give out.
    But now i feel “up on things”, without having to go, So thanks and Happy New Year

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  3. Great post….had me laughing out loud..thank you for that. It’s funny from all the hype about the movie and all of the Anne Hathaway interviews the last few weeks before Xmas I would have thought she had a bigger role. Come to find out I probably heard the most significant part of her role in the previews and clips shown along with her interviews….Have been considering going to see the movie because of frequent recommendations in years past from an acquaintance to see the play. However, based on your less than rave reviews I think I’ll wait until it comes to the dollar movie or better yet to redbox.

    Thanks for another entertaining and informative post. rmiles.

    Happy New Year to you and SK!!

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  4. Glad you enjoyed it. Some people don’t get my “take” on things, it’s nice to know there are people out there with a sense of humor and enjoying looking at life for a different angle. You are welcome and I hope 2013, is the best year yet for you and your family. Cheers!

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  5. Hey strollingturtle! Oh, I really enjoy the play version. I would go see that again. . .but not the movie. Thank you again for your comments and well wishes for the New Year. I know you and your daughter are going to have a rewarding year ahead. Peace.

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  7. Pingback: My Top Ten | The Little Butch That Could

  8. I didn’t line up to see this…mostly because from the photo I would assume they all say things like “I shant do it!”, which I don’t know what that means really. As for previews, they are my favorite part! I get to see “movies” that I would otherwise not get to see at all. We don’t watch commercials at home, due to the delightful invention of Tevo, and if it’s not something ‘she’ wants to see, we don’t see it, no matter my enthusiasm for it. So movie previews are much anticipated, and I get there early. If you are tall and sit in front of me, I move. I’ve come for that first 20 minutes and you’re not going to cheat me. The rest of the movie is yawn-able and I yawned typing that. She made me see The Giver this past weekend. There’s two hours taken off my life, never to return, but I got to see movie clips that I’ll never get to see again! Oh yeah!

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  9. I can’t believe you are actually reading my top ten list. Thank you so much. . . you are the only one. You get my newly created gold follower star award! Now, don’t you feel special? 🙂
    I can understand why you like the previews. That’s a new spin on it that I haven’t heard before and it’s a very valid point. We do enjoy previews to a point, so we know what’s coming out that we may like to see in the future. I just don’t appreciate how many of them there are in the US. Cheers. . . and thank you again for reading my list!

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