The title says it all.
To me, Les Miserables (2012) is this old woman you know from a care-home for the elderly. You went there for immersion, or maybe a field-trip for Literature class, or maybe some social responsibility event at work. Then you approach this woman, who at a moment isn’t lucid, and sees you as somebody from her past. She talks to you about her experiences – saying sorry for leaving you, how some event wrought her life, taken everything else she’s had, yet still managed to end victorious. You’re not that phony, alright, of course you were bored, extremely bored to boot. But you appreciate it. You were sympathetic, and she made you think how it must be for you to be old. And then, she stops talking, sleeping peacefully by her seat.
WARNING: BITTERGOURD AHEAD: Why Les Mis doesn’t work for some
I understand why Les Mis doesn’t work much to some people. I believe this is a material worth-seeing yet needs some preparation. It cannot be a material that you go in the theater, you get a grasp of everything in the plot.
The novel to which this movie is based is by Leo Tolstoy who showed a rather complex depiction of a society under and in efforts to break a monarchy. If the viewer wants to see a more straightforward approach to Tolstoy’s material, the 1998 version kind of works. Liam Neeson, the Taken guy, was Jean Valjean. I cannot lie, I haven’t seen it yet, but a friend told me it’s quite complementary for the understanding of Les Mis (2012) for those who haven’t read the novel yet.
Les Mis (2012) is actually a movie adaptation of the musical theater Les Miserables. Having watched on film the 2010 Les Miserable Concert at some hotshot theater in London, I believe it was the same material. The film may have had some revisions with sequencing and had cut some parts, yet I believe this movie adaptation has no mean feat with writing. This is a movie made first for the fans of the musical theater and the general audience are secondary.
This is not to put prejudice on the work of McIntosh and company, but rather to recognize the fact of how grand his work is, that a great deal of omission and simplification diminishes its effect. This is to say, I like the musical theater Les Mis, I love it so much I do have a run of the songs once a month since October last year. However, maybe given more time to have thought things over, a more apropos, more succulent movie adaptation for this musical theater may have made things more coherent.
More so, a musical doesn’t quite work for some due to its nature. A musical must be appreciated for its smooth transition of songs, its melodies and writing. Realism should be dismissed a bit. One time, I’ve heard of this story about some guy commenting while watching Les Mis: “You better shut up Jean. You’d wake Cosette up.” In this case, the non-appreciation rests on the viewer for not being acquainted of the genre.
HOORAY: UNICORNS AND CUPCAKES: Praises and why Les Mis works
I love how Tom Hooper, director of Les Mis, took on the visuals. It was so dirty yet stunning! Everything’s so untidy I wanted to get some wipes and bleach and just scrub everything on screen. I don’t know anything about cinematography but I’d say the screen looks delicious. It’s like looking through some old photographs, faces and friends you’d always remember… Hahaha, sorry that’s from a song. (Jose Mari Chan’s Perfect Christmas)
Production design (if I my assumptions are correct, involves the furniture, the buildings, the rooms, the alleys, and all) was so pretty! I can’t live there but I it’s a sight you’d want to take a peek in person. I want to be at Cosette’s room! Cosette’s garden! The Bishop’s church was so nice I’d like to spend some silent moments there. The Goth tower of some sort where Javert stood below the night sky was awesome.
AND THE ACTING!!!!!!!
Anne Hathaway for the win! If you’re reading this, and you’re part of the Academy, please give her an Oscar, please please please!
She’s my ultimate hero! That ‘I dreamed a dream’ moment she had was the HIGHLIGHT of the film! That was the core of what the movie was about! It was by far the best rendition of that song ever! Not to discount previous efforts of my other heroes Lea Salonga and Susan Boyle of course, but come to think of it, no other rendition would make me cry like some decrypt faucet in a hundred years. Only that of the Hathaway! The Hathaway! Anne Hathaway! Period.
And there’s my favorite Potter villainous witch Bellatrix Lestrange, no other than Mrs. Burton, Helena Bonham-Carter herself! Oh, how lovely and villainous she was. I still haven’t recovered from being too giggly on her Dark Shadows role as some kick-ass psychiatrist. And here she is, all bitchy and charming as the snooty Mrs. Thenadiere!
And, and, and, there’s the funniest potty-mouth of all, The Dictator Ala-deen himself, Sacha Baron Cohen! I like how he’s all quite controlled and reserved yet not totally besides himself here in Les Mis. He and Ms. Bonham-Carter light up the screen. I COULD FEEL THE ELECTRICITY! Yay!
I have reservations with Wolverine, Hugh Jackman. His Jean Valjean to me was fine. I just don’t like how he comes across as too pensive at most times. I think there’s a way to be better though. But we’d have to give it to him for handling an almost three-hour movie. With pensive moments.
Let’s forget Russel Crowe did this. I haven’t seen the Gladiator but I heard he was good there, so there. But wait, was he the genius Math guy from A Beautiful Mind? So there.
And yeah, Amanda Seyfried, the Cosette, gets to be pretty again.
*All media belong to Universal, the producers, the director, and all parties who take ownership in these materials. Thanks for this wonderful movie.