Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Les Misérables Review

You know you just watched an emotionally powerful movie when there's a significant difference between your emotional states at the beginning and end. Case in point: when I sat down to watch Les Misérables with my friends Maddie and Patrick and Maddie's sister, we were cheerful and excited. When the credits started rolling, I looked to my right to find Maddie curled into a ball in her seat, sobbing - literally sobbing - and as I drove home from the theater, I fought back tears as I belted out Anne Hathaway's rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream." Les Mis certainly evokes a strong reaction in its viewers, although the emotions it draws out, at least for me, aren't particularly lingering or even deep-rooted. They were kind of like the emotional equivalent of indulging in a really fancy desert at a restaurant: a complete release of inhibitions, and maybe something which you haven't done in a while but which makes you feel immensely better afterwards. It's probably not the best thing you could've eaten, but goddamn did you enjoy yourself while you were eating it, and sometimes that's all that matters! Despite all the really depressing stuff that happens in the film, Les Mis is straight-up fun to watch.

Spoilers ahead.

Obviously Anne Hathaway was magnificent, despite her relatively small amount of screen time. I'm pretty sure we don't even have to talk about it at this point. I think Anne Hathaway's performances are pretty okay usually, but I do love her and I'm really glad she put so much into her performance as Fantine because it totally worked - she was great. Hugh Jackman was fabulous as well, especially during his volatile rendition of "Valjean's Soliloquy". I remember sitting in the theater and gaping in awe at his beard-y, malnourished face as he went from crying to singing with determination. I was also pleasantly surprised by Sacha Baren Cohen's performance as Thénardier. He was deliciously sneaky and reprehensible, and I loved every minute he was on-screen.

I thought the cinematography was great, and I really don't understand why everyone keeps complaining about the close-ups. Yes, okay, there were a lot of close-ups, but they weren't distracting or jarring. I didn't love Russell Crowe, but he was fine. I guess. I didn't really care about Cosette or Marius, although I did cry when Marius sang "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". Well, that's not true, because when they got married and were singing with a dying Valjean at the very end I was ugly crying. Like, UGLY crying. Now, I didn't particularly care about the ABC dudes or the revolution either. They were just plot devices to me. I thought the live singing was used very well, and it brought real emotion to the characters' performances, which was great! But they sure promoted the ever-living fuck out of it, didn't they? Not that they're at fault for that, I don't know. It was just annoying.

I don't really have anything else to say because I procrastinated writing this blog post and it's already been like two weeks since I saw this movie, I've pretty much forgotten everything. Sorry for the sub-par post, but I give the film a 7/10.

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