I went to see Les Miserables last night with my friend Ash and thought it was well-acted, entertaining, not nearly as cheesy as I expected, and not even close to deserving a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars this year when you compare it to a film like The Master. I did almost cry once during it, though, so that’s something. I think I also almost cried during Looper with my friend Kim the night before, though, so maybe it’s nothing.
Anyway, here are my spoiler-free thoughts about Les Mis:
• I can’t believe there was a character named Cassette.
• Watching a preview for the movie a few days ago, Kamran pointed out that the scene with Anne Hathaway singing “I Dreamed a Dream” all close up with her shaved head looks like a reference to the 1920s silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, which was a big deal because of its extremely intimate zoomed-in look and stark background that made the actor the whole point of the thing.
Joan of Arc looks way cooler, am I right? I thought this particular Les Mis scene with its teary, snotty close-up was pretty powerful, but in general, the filmmaking seemed pretty sad and uninteresting, and I’m not surprised that Tom Hooper wasn’t nominated for Best Director at this year’s Oscars. The background of the movie was a French uprising, and yet France played absolutely no character in it; I can literally think of one bit of French architecture that was showcased. The rest of the backdrops were filmed entirely out of focus, the shallow depth of field trained solely on whichever actor happened to be singing at that point. All of the budget must have been spent on big-name actors, so there was nothing left for scenery. Anne Hathaway’s skin was never meant to be seen at that distance, godblessher.
• Sometimes the camera’s precise focus was amazing, and sometimes only Eddie Redmayne’s ear was in focus.
• Some of the singing felt raw and impassioned, and some just needed enough Auto-Tuning to make the notes even remotely correct.
• The all-sung dialogue was awkward at times, especially when there was no background music and the actors didn’t know the tune they were supposed to be singing.
• The live recording of songs didn’t work when actors were physically separated; Amanda Seyfried’s notes from the carriage seemed to physically bounce off of Eddie Redmayne’s from the center of town when they were supposedly harmonizing.
• The plot wasn’t boring, and the eight hours or whatever it lasted didn’t seem long.
• They actually showed the body hitting the water! And it thudded!
• The “Red and Black” song was my favourite of the film.
• I agree with everyone else that Eddie Redmayne has a great voice, but I liked Aaron Tveit singing as Enjolras better. And I also totally didn’t hate Russell Crowe’s vocals, though Tracey said it sounded like he thought he was in a rock opera, and Ash said it sounded like he has fat on his vocal cords.
• The little Cockney kid, Gavroche, was uh-maaaaazing. But why was there a little Cockney kid in France?
• So much poo in people’s mouths!
The poo is the really important part.