We Need To Talk About Les Mis Part II: I Heard The People Sing, And It Was Glorious!

Film critics have been mixed on Les Miserables, with some considering it overwrought or over cinematized or something else involving big technical words I don’t really know, and others appreciating it for all of its messy melodrama. But we've yet to read the one criticism that really matters: mine. Does this girl look like she gives a hoot about directorial choices or film stylings? IMG_20121225_125129

No, no she does not. (She also doesn’t look like she’s washed her hair or effectively removed last night’s eye makeup. What a babe.)

I’m not a film critic or a film buff by any stretch of the imagination, my two favorite films are Mean Girls and A Muppets Christmas Carol, so I don’t judge by any critical standards, but always by how a movie makes me feel when it is over. And Les Mis made me feel like this:


Which is to say: I loved it. I started crying about 12 minutes in, during “Valjean’s Soliloquy” (“He told me that I had a soul. How did he know?”) and pretty much didn’t stop until the film was over. The big group numbers were visually and musically stunning, especially "Look Down" and "Do You Hear the People Sing," which weave all over Paris, and the real stunner songs, "I Dreamed a Dream," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," "On My Own" straight delivered. Even my enemy Anne melted my icy heart. Homegirl can sing. Someone who did not melt my icy heart was Russell Crowe. He’s getting some nice reviews from critics about his performance but I thought his singing voice lacked the gravitas I expect from my beloved Javert and he just didn’t bring the nuance of that character. But I’m a tough judge. The movie is filmed as a series of set pieces, I would imagine as an homage to the stage version, if I were the type of person to use the word “homage,” so it never really looked like real France - the Bishop’s hilltop monastery looked a lot like Middle Earth and I am pretty sure they filmed all of the barricade/Paris revolution scenes on the Diagon Alley set from the Harry Potter films, but I was really too busy paying attention to the singing and the acting and the EMOTING and the drama and the sexy, sexy schoolboys in their vests to really give much thought to what was going on around them.

SO! Now if you haven’t seen the film, rush off to your local movie theater immediately! I really don’t understand what you’re waiting for. Then come back here and dish with me - I’d truly love to hear what everyone else thinks!

If you HAVE already seen the film, please stick around, I have a few detailed, spoilery notes below. …...

Ok, first things first, how hot was Enjolras? My love for that character is well documented, but I was unfamiliar with the actor playing him. Apparently he’s a big theater heartthrob. One of my crazy cousins is a huge Broadway fan and told me at family Christmas she’d “like to be a cougar for Aaron Tveit” so I was well prepared to be throwing my undies at the movie screen and hoo boy, he did not disappoint. So passionate, so principled, such hair!


Wouldn’t our children just have the wildest curly mops?

All of the revolutionaries in this film were just too good looking.I love them all. I also love the slight homoerotic undercurrent that runs through all of the revolutionary scenes. The meaningful glances exchanged! Rawr. Gay or straight, I’m in the throes of developing a serious vest fetish.

normal_LESMISSTILL-008Oh yum.

And speaking of yum, Buzzfeed ran this great article last week wherein they praised Russell Crowe’s Val Jean as a truly hot JVJ, a VILF: a ValJean I’d LIke to Fuck. They were right.Hugh is almost almost distractingly good looking. I actually feel like this was a whole movie of fellas I’d like to F, with the exception of dumb Javert, which is so disappointing, considering my usual strange obsession with him. Though I can’t imagine Javert would be a very talented lover. He’d probably be very gruff and quick and then cry afterwards. Actually, if you really consider it, I'd bet all of the fellas in this film are a little too much up in their own business to be very good in bed. Like, hot as he is, you just know Enjolras would yell “Viva le France!” as he finished.

The amount of time I’ve spent thinking about this is slightly disconcerting.

Before we wrap up our talk of Hot Guyz, let’s really quickly discuss Eddie Redmayne. He was SO GOOD! I usually think Marius is such a wimpy doofus, but Ol Freckleface played him so well and he was actually pretty bad ass in the end when he punched Thernardier at the wedding. I can see why Cosette was so smitten with him at first sight. That said, doesn’t he have sort of a funny shaped head?  I think he looks a bit like a thumb puppet. Like, his head is kind of the same size as his neck? He's a really hot thumb puppet but still:

Untitled presentation

Do you see it? Just a bit! Ohhhhhhhhhh but those big fat tears running down that thumb face while he sang Empty Chairs had me losing my shit. “Oh my friends, my friends!” Weeping.

Well, by that point in the film I’d been crying for about 2.5 hours - I think I reached the peak of my weeping during the fall of the barricade. I GASPED out loud when they shot Gavroche - I knew it was coming but it was so graphic (and he was so cute!!) and then when Javert pinned his war medal on dead Gavroche’s blood stained shirt I emitted such a loud, heaving sob that my mom told me to quiet down. Um, sorry Penn Cinemas, Lancaster, PA. I can’t control myself.

And Oh! Speaking of gasping! How loud did you shriek when you spotted Colm Wilkinson!?! You know you’re a true LM nerd when you immediately recognize the bishop as the legendary CW, the original ValJean. My siblings and I have spent the last week singing all of his songs in our best Colm Wilkonsony, Slightly Scottishy accents,so we mostly end up sounding like Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery on Saturday Night Live. “Your Motha ish 24601, Trebek!”

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, Colm. I nearly died right there in my seat when Colm as the Bishop started singing, imagining him handing the torch over to Hugh Jackman and was a full on blubbering mess by the end, when ValJean walked off to heaven to the tune of Do You Hear the People Sing and there was Colm in the doorway, lit up by the light of a thousand candles, looking like Christ himself. Was it heavy handed and melodramatic and ridiculous? DUH. But isn’t that why we love Les Mis so much?

Another thing I loved at the finale was how they just had Fantine come sing to ValJean on his deathbed, well, death rocking chair, instead of having Eponine tag along. I never understood why she was there. She didn’t even know Jean. I was so thrilled to see her at the end, atop the barricade surrounded by all of the students who were now literally dead sexy.

Ba dum bum!

Ok, quickly let’s talk favorite/least favorites: I thought Hugh was an amazing ValJean. He couldn’t quite hit the notes on some of the bigger songs,“Bring Him Home” in particular had me cringing just a bit, but he acted the shit out of that part and perfectly portrayed the conflicted soul that is Val Jean. He has such soulful eyes, that one. VILF! And “Dreamed a Dream,” I can’t fight it, was incredible. A hat tip to you, bald Anne. And Samantha Barks was goooooood as Eponine, which was expected, having played the part before, though everyone knows that Joey Potter sings the ultimate “On My Own.” Also, while I’m thinking of it, she has kind of a weird body shape. I shouldn’t say that about another woman. I’ll rephrase - she has a teensy, tinsy waist, like, Disney heroine tiny, and really lovely shoulders, but however they had her costumed made her look really out of proportion with her waist the size of her arms. She’s gorgeous and I’ve seen her in non urchin apparel, so I know she has a rocking bod, but whatever they were doing with the costuming was weirddddd. But “Little Fall of Rain!” Swoon/weep/swoon. Oh, Ponine, HJNTITY: He’s Just Not That Into You.

Ah, I keep getting distracted and just writing down every song from the film. So here goes, a quick Best Worst:

Best Actor: Anne Hathaway as Fantine. YES I SAID IT.

Worst Actor: Do I even have to spell this out? Russell Crowe. Blech.

Best Song -Solo: “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.” I loved this version!

Worst Song - Solo: Again, obvi, “Stars.” My favorite song from the musical as growled by a lackluster Russell Crowe standing in front of a cheesy Paris landscape. Just jump already, you’re harshing my mellow!

Best Song - Group: “Do You Hear the People Sing” Big booming vocals + hot studs waving French flags = slam dunk.

Worst Song - Group: Just because I have to pick one, I’ll go with “Master of the House.” Just eh. But still good! I’m only picking because I have to. I make the blog rules, I must stick by them.

Best Face: Amanda Seyfried. And a good voice, too! Cosette is boring, but she sure is pretty.

Best Hair: Duh! Enjolras!

Best Dressed: Madame Thenardier. Love me some HBC!

Worst Hair: Fantine’s Prostitute Colleagues. I know times are tough, but get some hair brushes, gals. Even Fantine’s disaster of a crop is better than some of these ladies do’s.

Most Glorious Death: Enjolras, upside down out the window, clutching the red flag. Viva le France - get in my pants!

Least Glorious Death: Javert. And not just because his Suicide song was lackluster - because the horrific “thud” as his body hit the river was one of the more sickening sounds I’ve heard this year.

Best Overall: The whole movie, minus Javert.

Worst Overall: JAVERT! My heart is stone and did NOT tremble for your performance. Woof.

What did you think? Did you love it? Hate it? What had you in tears? Which schoolboy had the best vest? Tell me EVERYTHING!

xo Liz