Long-Time FanI have loved the stage production of Les Miserables for as long as I can remember. The story, by Victor Hugo, is amazing! The characters are so easy to relate to. And the music, composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg, is powerfully moving- especially when paired with the incredible lyrics by Alain Boubil and Jean-Marc Natel. It is no wonder that the musical has lasted for twenty-seven years!
I have seen the musical many, many times, along with different film adaptations of the book, so I went into the theatre on opening day with a harshly critical mindset. I was prepared to be let down (especially after being so incredibly disappointed with The Phantom of the Opera film). However, I was pleasantly surprised, blown away actually.
Hugh JackmanWhen I initially learned that Jackman would be playing the part of Jean Valjean, I was accepting of it. I thought that he looked like a good Valjean, but I had no idea what his voice sounded like. His voice was my only reservation.
Seeing the movie, I thought that he did an excellent job playing the part of Valjean. His voice was not excellent, just ok. He did a great job with some of the notes, but his vibrato was too much, and by the end of the film I was just annoyed by his voice. But there is no denying that his singing, combined with acting, was powerful! During "Valjean's Soliloquy" I was brought to tears. For the first time I actually felt the pain that Valjean went through, and I fully understood his character.
Russel CroweRussel Crowe as Javert... He did an amazing job acting. His voice on the other hand... Crowe definitely has a good voice in itself, but there was no emotion or range. At first it was fine because it fit the character. But there are scenes where Javert's voice needs emotion. For example, his suicide. Norm Lewis, who played Javert in the 25th Anniversary concert did an amazing job with the suicide scene. It made me emotional. But there was nothing with Crowe's voice in that scene.
Anne HathawayAnne Hathaway blew me away! I have seen so many different actresses play the part of Fantine- actresses who were great, but it just felt like an actress playing the part of Fantine. I didn't feel that way with Hathaway. I felt like she was Fantine. Her voice was beautiful! I loved the way that she changed "I Dreamed A Dream" to a more reminiscent, somber sound. She was hands down the best performer in the movie!
Helena Bonham CarterThis is one actress whom I absolutely adore. She is amazing in everything she does. Natutally, I was excited to learn she would be in Les Miserables. While I think she was great as Madame Thenardier, no one will ever be better at the role than Jenny Galloway. She will forever be Madame Thenardier. But I was still satisfied with Helena Bonham Carter at the end of the day.
Sacha Baron CohenBest Thenardier ever! He was hilarious. That is all.
Amanda SeyfriedCosette is supposed to be one of the most important characters in Les Miserables, so I was surprised that Seyfried didn't have more screen time. She played the part of Cosette fine, but her voice was not up to par. She has a beautiful voice, it just wasn't strong enough to match this group of performers.
Eddie RedmayneI'm not going to lie, I was utterly disappointed by this casting choice. First of all, Redmayne is not attractive... Don't know what Cosette or Eponine would see in this guy. Secondly, his voice sounded like an old fashioned Disney prince meets Mickey Mouse. I was not impressed by his performance at all. I honestly think that Nick Jonas was the best Marius. He did amazing in the 25th Anniversary Concert and I wish they would have cast him for the movie.
Samantha BarksEponine is my all time favorite character in fiction. It was critical for me that they cast someone to do this character justice. I am so glad that they did not cast Taylor Swift for this role. I love Samatha Barks! She is amazing, and when it was announced that she would play Eponine in the movie, I literally jumped from excitement. But I have to say that she played the part better in the 25th Anniversary Concert...
Eponine is supposed to be a strong, tough character who knows her way around, and I feel that Barks did not portray that in the movie like she did in the 25th Anniversary Concert. And I don't think her singing was as powerful and moving either. But it is what it is and I'm still glad that she was cast.
Aaron TveitI had no idea this guy could sing! He did a great job playing Enjolras, but no one can beat Ramin Karimloo. I am still very surprised that Karimloo was not cast to play this part.
MusicI do have a few complaints about the music. Singing live was brilliant and necessary, but inserting the orchestra later made the music very underwhelmed. There are moments, for example in "One Day More", where the music needs to be almost more powerful than the voices.
The new song "Suddenly" was unnecessary for me. I got bored for that one scene. I think they could have left that song out and kept more time for the other songs that they shortened. I was very upset that they shortened "A Heart Full of Love" and "A Little Fall of Rain." Those are two songs that are very popular and should not have been shortened at all.
All in all, I loved the movie, but the stage production will always be my favorite. Tell me what you think about the movie in the comments section below. And please also let me know what you think of my very first movie review. Thanks so much for reading!