My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5…I think…
Genre: Classic, musical, life, adventure
Primary actors: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Russell Crowe
Length: Just over two and a half hours
Based on: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Time period: 1800s (early, possibly with a touch of 1700s)
Year it came out: 2012
My overall opinion: I didn’t know what I would think of it going in. I was 75% sure it wouldn’t be my new favorite movie – I like happy movies, and I knew (even without knowing the story line) that LesMis wasn’t. But it was a chance to hang out with two of my best friends for an evening, while seeing a movie that a lot of people were saying was really good…so I went.
What did I think? I’m still not sure, as you can see by my rating. Some of it was amazing…some I didn’t like nearly so much. But overall, I am not opposed to seeing it again someday.
Warning: if you haven’t seen it yet, please don’t read this review. I’m awful about spoilers. And yes, this applies to my own family…I’m looking at the two of you who read this blog and haven’t seen it yet! The rest of you…watch it first, then read this. Please skip to the bottom and look for the blue font to see my warnings and overall impression -- should you see it?
Now that we have that done with…and you’d better not be reading anymore now if you haven’t seen it!
On to my opinions. They are an utterly random assortment of the thoughts I remembered after the movie. So if you have something in mind I didn’t mention…ask me. Oh, also? I haven’t (this is embarrassing) read the book. Really. And right now? I do not have time for a book that size. But someday, when my life slows down a bit (does it ever do that again?) I will read it. Promise.
Other warning: this is turning out to be super long, probably the longest review I’ve ever written…skim as needed. And comment. As you read. :) I will reply!
NOW. As stated, no order. Opening scene! Fascinating. Amazing. Unbelievable. That big boat being towed with pure man-power into a gigantic dock? I didn’t think they built docks that size in the 1800s. Or boats. Ummm, ships. Either way. That scene…I really liked it. A lot. Incidentally, the song there was also amazing…Look Down.
Before I continue, let me take a quick side-track about the music. Point 1: I know it’s supposed to be a musical. Point 2: I loved some of the songs, and they’re still running through my head – impressive. Point 3 (aka the Clincher): I thought there was too much singing. Every time I turned around…there was another song. Not that I was literally turning around…but, well, you know what I mean. For me, the songs got old after a bit. That being said, as stated, I really liked some of them! I’ll come to more on that presently.
There were six (count ‘em, six) dramatic deaths. Like I mentioned, I’m a happy movie person. Bright, cheerful, everybody happy, and not too much stupid romantic drama. So deaths really aren’t my thing! And these! I’ll say more about the rating presently, but I’d say the film definitely earned its PG-13 rating. It did end up feeling like person after person was keeling over dead…or falling to their death…or being shot…but I understand that that’s the way the book goes and the movie must, of course, follow the book – I wouldn’t wish it otherwise.
My favorite female? Nope, not Anne Hathaway. In fact, Fantine really wasn’t a favorite character for me. Stop! Side-track. We’re going to talk about her and her character right here, right now, before we get to my favorite girl. I’m afraid I wasn’t exceptionally fond of Anne as Fantine. Admittedly, I don’t know what Fantine is supposed to be like, having no prior experience of the story…hmmm. Anne has a lovely voice, to be sure, but…I think her personality, her character, they’re meant for light flitty films. Her as a heavy tragic character? For me, it didn’t really work. As to her singing I Dreamed a Dream…well, we’ll come to that. (I made a list and am mostly going by that. ;)
Anyway, favorite female. Was Eponine. Yup. For some reason, I really liked her…which sounds weird. I guess I connected a lot better with her than with Fontaine. Her song, On My Own, was amazing. Possibly my favorite in the whole movie. And she was my favorite character! I don’t know what it was about her… But anyway. She was awesome, I thought. Her smile is so sweet! Even though she really is a tragic character, I suppose.
Randomly, I wasn’t very fond of Cosette either. As a child, yes, I liked her. Sweet voice, sweet girl. But once she grew up…I think she mostly just bugged me, somehow. Equally randomly, the whole scene under the city was amazing. And disgusting. Because sewage is. But equally amazing. That huge complex…wow. This scene, like the opening one, fascinated me. And also randomly, because this paragraph is the random one…those guns? Wow. Scary. My first thought when I saw them shot was “Ummm…dangerous! Those guns are dangerous!” Now, I’m not one of those most unfortunate people who has a fear of guns – on the contrary, I own one and enjoy shooting. No, that thought was because they fire and fire quite literally goes everywhere! Very dangerous. And I’m glad I wasn’t shooting one. And that thought…it made me smile. Because the second part was that “someone’s going to get hurt!” Which was kinda the whole purpose of those guns in the first place…
This…is really long. I wasn’t expecting to be quite this wordy. But I have days when I can rattle off an entire book without thinking twice – today, for example. ;)
My other favorite characters? I take that back. They weren’t favorites, not really. But I, again, was fascinated! They were most interesting, intriguing too. Know who I mean yet? That’s right, Cosette’s evil and scheming guardians, Messieur and Madame Thenardier. They were unbelievable. And dreadful. And very interesting. I loved…that’s not the right word. I thought it was really cool how they stole from everyone. I mean, it was awful, to be sure…but also really cool.
I did really like the two young patriots, Marius and Enjorlas...pretty awesome guys! :) And I did include these few lines just so I could include a picture.
And now! A few paragraphs about the songs. Firstly, the one song I knew going into this film…I Dreamed a Dream. As y’all ought to know, Susan Boyle had great success with this one a few years back. Remember? If you don’t, go look it up and listen. To be quite frank, I definitely prefer Susan’s version over Anne’s. In all fairness, I’ve loved Susan’s for years. But at the same time, I think her voice was perfect it. Rich, strong, vibrant. Anne has a “sweet” voice, much higher and lighter. I didn’t like it much, though Anne did a good job, I admit. I enjoyed the way that the song theme was worked into the movie a few other times…as stated, it was the only song I knew ahead, so my ears recognized it each time. :) I also “enjoyed” the extra verse added…extra only because Susan doesn’t sing that part.
The whole Lovely Ladies song and scene…most memorable. Quite horrible, really, when you think about it…not in film terms, but just the conditions that they’re in. And what’s going on. But I don’t think you’ll find yourself forgetting it anytime soon! Rather disturbing. I can’t imagine how much work the film-makers put into that sequence. Incidentally? Some of that was way too disgusting for me. Just saying. (I’m referencing the teeth-pulling…more about everything else presently.)
Two more songs I want yet to mention. The first is One Day More. Wow. That scene was just plain cool. Was it just me, or did pretty much the entire cast get to sing parts of that? It was so neat to see everyone that way! At the same time, I did find it a little disconcerting…all these people, all different places, all singing this song? I know, I know, that’s what musicals do…still bugged me.
The second song to mention is Do You Hear the People Sing? And THAT is the song that has been stuck in my head ever since. It’s catchy. And sad. And amazing. [[Addition: 24 hours after writing this, as I quickly read over to proof it…just reading the title starts the song in my head! THAT is the sign of a good song.]] [[Other addition: At the End of the Day...it's more enjoyable every time I listen to it.]]
Now, the touchy topics…the PG-13 content. Like I said earlier, there was quite enough to earn it a PG-13 rating, I thought. Many of the dresses had extremely low necklines (no doubt accurate for the period and country and people) and there was some other stuff of that sort as well…I’d really rather not talk about it, so just go HERE to read about it on IMDB. And then there was also the gore aspect…the producers didn’t skimp on the blood and gore and violence content. So be warned – this time period was very violent, and this movie portrays it clearly. Be careful.
I have completed my list! All this, by the way, was written in just under 45 minutes. :) Not counting the editing, videos, or pictures. Which I’ll add later. Oh, random note...I just barely made it without any crying -- BARELY. My eyes were wet for the last scene...but my makeup (which I had forgotten that I wasn't going to wear) was intact.
Finally, Les Mis fans, you'll want to check out the fancy photos taken for Vogue! There are only eight, but they're awesome. Go here.
My overall opinion for those of you who haven't seen it yet? Worth watching, but use caution. Not for young viewers, or the faint of heart. Overall, I liked it in most parts and if you've enjoyed the book, this movie/musical is worth a try. :)
Back to you. If you've seen it, what did you think? Love it, hate it, not sure? What else do you want my opinion on? What did you disagree with my thoughts on? Have you posted your review yet? (I’d love to see it…leave me a link and I’ll come read it) Comment, sil vous plait!