Laaaaaa Lalalalalaalalalal Laaaaaalaaaaaa I watched Les Miserables a few days ago with Brazle, Hayley and Casey. Hayley was seeing it for her SIXTH time and Casey for her THIRD. Suffice it to say they really like it. Brazle and I were both seeing it for the first time, and for me, it was the first time I had watched a musical in the theater, I think ever. Do Disney cartoon movies with lots of songs count?? Anyway, it was interesting seeing a filmed musical. Overall, I thought it was good. The costumes and sets are extremely well done, and the acting is quite good as well. Actually, the acting is completely breathtaking in spots. For me, Anne Hathaway killed her role as Fantine. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” is unbelievable. I’ve not seen many acting moments that can rival that particular scene, except for in The Expendables 2, where EVERY acting performance rivals it, especially Jean-Claude Van Damme. “Don’t chalLANGE me.” Hugh Jackman also nailed his part as Jean Valjean. He’s a really good actor. His voice sort of annoyed me, but nobody else in my party had the same feeling, so maybe it’s just me. Speaking of annoying voices, Russell Crowe has been annihilated for his performance as Javert, in some cases being credited for lowering the quality of the movie by at least 20% (see Hawkins, Cary). Never having seen the musical, I had no previous expectations for Javert, so I didn’t think he was that bad, but apparently he is really bad. Just saying.
Let’s see, what else? Oh, apparently Steve Nash agreed to appear as Marius. What? That’s not Steve Nash? That is Eddie Redmayne? I thought Eddie Redmayne played for the Los Angeles Lakers, and that explained their less-than-stellar record so far!!! I just looked it up – you’re right. Eddie Redmayne plays Marius, and Steve Nash still plays basketball, making this Lakers season all the more unbelievable. In a related story, Steve Nash and Eddie Redmayne look a lot alike.
What else?? Oh yeah, Sacha Baron Cohen is in this, which itself is great. He plays the swindling innkeeper Thenardier and does a marvelous job at being ridiculous. Quick tangent: he’s so good at being ridiculous that when I recently watched Hugo, I couldn’t take him seriously. He is so fantastic. And Helena Bonham Carter is wonderful as his even-more-awful-but-in-a-different-way wife, Madame Thernardier. It strikes me that she might be one of the most versatile actresses alive – two years ago she was starring in The King’s Speech as the straight female lead, the Queen-to-be and eventual Queen, and now she’s playing a ludicrous would-be queen of innkeeping. Two vastly different roles with one thing in common – both expertly played by Helena. Last thing about Cohen and Carter – it was wonderful to have those two for comedic relief; Les Miserables is incredibly heavy, so the levity of the Thernardiers is a very nice change of pace.
I have saved my favorite performances for last. Samantha Barks as Eponine is so good it is insane. It makes sense – she played the same role in the Broadway production, and I’ve heard only the best play on Broadway. I’ve heard that. She would have been the best part if not for Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. Seyfried is by far my favorite part of the movie musical. Her voice is exquisite, and her look is literally perfect. You know how movies will have flashbacks showing characters in their younger days, played by a child who looks nothing like the star playing the older version? Well, in this case, the little girl who plays the child Cosette and Seyfried look strikingly like an older/younger version of each other. And they can both sing beautifully. What are the odds? At any rate, I could listen to Seyfried sing all day. Those two lovely young ladies took the production to another level. Samantha and Amanda, I’m sure you are both reading this, and I want to say, well done you two!!
At the end of the day, if you like musicals, you should go see Les Miserables. It’s really good. I don’t think I would recommend it for children as it is very heavy with lots of grown-up scenarios, but the music is beautiful, the sets are awesome, and the acting is top notch. The only way it could’ve been better is if Shaquille O’Neal had played the part of Gavroche.
Grant Stevens is an accomplished member of the national fraternity Moo Goo Gai Pan. His hobbies include paying off his car and establishing fictional fraternities. An avid musician, Grant can be found playing piano every weekend at the Skirvin Hilton’s Red Piano Bar in Oklahoma City, and his debut album can be found here. He is a major advocate for the correct usage of the word “ironic”, and he is also a semi-semi-semi-semi amateur Halo professional. His e-sports team is called Swag Don’t Come Cheap. It was Brazle’s idea – mad props to him!!