Skip to main content

Les Miserable as a Movie: My Thoughts

I just returned from seeing the Les Miserable movie and I am so hyped up. I need to share my thoughts with EVERYONE. I have, of course, gone over all this with my beloved baby sister, who shares my love for this story and the music. I will not be able to sleep tonight until I get all the thoughts out of my head though. So internet, thanks for being here to receive them.

My history with Les Miserable (just for background, feel free to skip): I have a long one. I have loved musicals since being introduced to Annie as a preschooler. I saw my first staged production at age 7 (it was The Sound of Music). By the time I was 11 I had seen Fiddler on the Roof, Cats, Brigadoon, and Starlight Express-all performed in London's West End. But I wasn't a serious connoisseur of musicals until high school.  It began as a flirtation with The Phantom of the Opera (which I soon realized was ridiculous) and quickly moved to Les Miserables. I had the Original London Cast recording on cassette originally and eventually snapped it from playing it so much. My junior year of high school the 10th Anniversary edition became available, which became (and still is) my go to version of the musical. My sister, in her young wisdom, asked for the full International recording for something and got it. Between us we cobbled together an epic full version from all three recordings. We were dedicated. I saw it on Broadway for the first time when I was 18, but I knew every note and word of it long before I got there. I have seen it performed three times since then by National Tours. I still listen to it in its entirety at least twice a month. Musicals are big part of my life. I love Wicked, adore Chess, am moved beyond belief at Miss Saigon., and have a great appreciation for anything Sondheim. I look forward to the Tony Awards every year with an excitement most people feel for the Super Bowl. But through all of these years Les Miserables has remained my absolute favorite.

The point to all that is to tell you that I know this musical. Very well. It is imprinted on my heart. And I'm not going to lie, I was a little concerned about it being turned into a movie.

My verdict: They did a fantastic job. I teared up several times and bawled like a baby three. That's pretty amazing considering I knew every word-or almost-that was being sung.

Spoiler Alert! If you don't know anything about Les Mis and don't wish to be spoiled for the movie stop reading. If you know the play and don't want to know what they changed stop reading.

My thoughts: 
Hugh Jackman was phenomenal.

Russell Crowe was not. Although he didn't ruin it for me, and I was worried he would if his performance was awful. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't great either. It was very rote, with little emotion and he sung his part with a sort of rock star vibe that doesn't fit Javert at all.

I love that they cast Colm Wilkinson to play the Bishop. That was just lovely. (For those who don't know-he was the original Valjean in both London and New York.)

"Lovely Ladies" is gritty and harsh. What they can mask easier on a stage is more in your face on the screen. It made what followed all the more powerful. Which brings me to...

Anne Hathaway made me cry when she sang "I Dreamed a Dream" (bawling instance #1) and I have NEVER cried during that song before.

As evidenced by the previous two comments: They changed the order of several songs, and each time they did it made sense and flowed beautifully.
Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were brilliant as the Thenardiers. I knew they would be. Best. Casting. Ever.

The original song was  unnecessary and sappy, made even more so by the fact that they...


Amanda Seyfried sang Cosette's part beautifully, but with little personality. Probably because Cosette just doesn't have one.

Samantha Barks was an amazing antithesis to this, bringing to Eponine all the heart, courage, and tragedy that one could hope for. She made me want to shout louder than ever during "In My Life", "Hey Marius, you idiot! Turn around and look at the girl behind you. She's the awesome one!" 

I loved how they wove parts in the novel they cut for the stage production back in: Marius' history and relationship with his grandfather, how close of a proximity he lived to Eponine (therefore establishing they actually knew each other fairly well), Eponine's death scene is changed back to the way it happens in the book, and the part about her stealing Cosette's letter was added back. All of this makes the Marius/Eponine story richer in my opinion. Which is another reason it was so annoying that they CUT OUT PART OF "A LITTLE FALL OF RAIN".

I adored all those silly rich school boys. Their camaraderie, their misguided passion for change, their courage.

That kid they cast to play Gavroche. I...can't perfect, adorable...and yeah. (Bawling instance #2)

"Do You Hear the People Sing"-oh all the feels.

I LOVED the way they did Enjolras' death scene. The hanging upside down with the red flag flowing around him is such an iconic scene from the stage production. I loved they included it. AND that Grantaire was standing right next to him. SOB! (Though it would have packed more of an emotional punch if they hadn't cut the "Can it be you fear to die? Will the world remember you when you go? Could it be your death means nothing at all? Is your life just one more lie?" confrontation between the two out of "Drink with Me". Again, WHY????

The sewers of Paris were a little too realistic. (I gagged a bit.)

Javert jumping off the bridge-OUCH! Thanks for the up close and personal shot and sound of that movie makers.

Something else they cut was Marius slamming the Thenardier's for being such beastly parents to Eponine. This was apparently left out to make way for two extra lines of Cosette whining.

The end. The MINOR change they made was necessary and works brilliantly. The way they did it, the note it ends on....bawling instance #3.

I am going to work as hard as I can to see it again before the week is out.


Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein