Monday, January 21, 2013
I went to see Les Miserables a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it! Les Miserables is my all-time favorite musical and I have watched two different movies - yes, the one with Liam Neeson and another one from a long time ago. I've also watched the 25th anniversary video (I used to own it on VHS) where the cast just stands and sings all the songs. I've read the book at least twice and got to see the London production about 3 years ago. About 20 years ago I was a co-producer/director for a Les Miserables production that our church ladies group did as a sort of book review with music. We had a narrator to tell the story and then we had the "actors" sing several of the songs (couldn't do them all due to time and really couldn't do "Master of the House" in a church group!).
I've read and watched several reviews and also have heard some of my friends give their opinions of Les Miserables. Everyone has the same opinion - that the singing wasn't that great. Here's my opinion: If you want to see Les Miserables for the music, then don't go see the movie - save your money and wait till the Broadway production comes to your town or a city close to you. If you want to see Les Miserables for the acting, then you can go see the movie. The music in this movie was filmed live. In most musicals, the music is done in a sound studio, where the actors sing and they dub it in to the movie. When it is done that way, you don't get the quality of acting that is done in the "moment". How can Jean Valjean sing a perfectly sounding song when he's just realized what the bishop has done for him? That the bishop has bought his soul for God? That was quite an emotional moment and Hugh Jackman's acting was superb. During Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" I dare anyone to not cry - I know I did, and I'm talking "ugly crying". After the movie I went to the bathroom at the theater and almost every woman in there had red eyes and noses and tear streaked faces, and I'm not lying! I'd like to go see Les Miserables again and will for sure buy the dvd when it comes out.
It will be interesting to see if Les Miserables wins any Oscars this year or if Hollywood snubs them because of so many discouraging critics.