Friday, February 1, 2013

Movie Night: Les Miserables

I have twice seen Les Mis live on stage as a musical:  Once in Toronto; once in Vancouver.  I have always loved the story, originally written by Victor Hugo in the early 1860s, and I adore the music that it was set to for the stage in the mid 1980s.  After my first time seeing it on stage, I was so in love with the music that I immediately went and purchased the two-volume sound track of CDs and listened to it dozens (maybe hundreds?) of times.  Just listening to that music can bring tears to my eyes.

I was reluctant to see the new movie based on the musical, mostly because I thought it would be a let down.  Early critics reviewed it poorly and I simply could not imagine actors like Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway (to name a few) singing credibly.  But a couple of people told me last week that they had really enjoyed it and so I reconsidered.

Well, I went to see it last night.  It was fabulous.  Wonderful.  It gets a 10 out of 10 for me, a rating I rarely bestow on books or movies.  Although Russell Crowe's voice was admittedly not my favourite, even he did a very credible job of singing and was well suited to the role.  But the other actors wowed me with their voices.  I understand that the actors sang their parts live (ie. no lip syncing/taping over) and that just added to the believability of it all.  I also understand that Hugh Jackman, perhaps best known in North America for action/superhero roles such as Wolverine, actually began his acting career in musical theatre in Australia.  Who knew??!  His voice was terrific - really, really terrific - and I was shocked also by how lovely Anne Hathaway's voice was.  Wow on both counts.  And perhaps the voice that most wowed me was that of Amanda Seyfried - she has a clear, lilting soprano voice that blew me away.  I was also very moved by how much emotion they brought to their parts - there are a few songs sung by Hathaway and Jackman that were just stunning when combined with the depth of feeling that they brought to the scene, and there were some duets/quartets/group performances that sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes.

At any rate, I loved it and the music continues to haunt my heart hours later.  I think I'll have to pull those old CDs out and give then a re-listen...maybe another hundred times!

If you're into musicals at all (or just a really great story), I would encourage you to go see this movie.

If you have already seen this movie, what did you think?


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! While times seem to be a bit better, you really do deserve the escape of a wonderful movie.

    I travelled several hours so that I could see it with one of my sisters. It was well worth driving in a snowstorm. We had saw the production in Toronto together and felt just as fortunate to see the film. It took me a while to get over the fact that it wasn't pretty and polished. However, that later became something I loved about it. I will admit that I struggled a bit with the length. I'm just not great at sitting still for that long, but I'm glad that didn't hold me back from attending.

    One thing that it taught me is that I really should go places without my darling youngest sister from time to time. I end up feeling like I should be feeding her, washing her hands, holding her hands, explaining noises to her, reassuring her, and so on when she's not even there! As well, she managed quite nicely without me and even painted a picture in my absence.

    I'm not crazy on sharing some of the content of the movie with her, but she's worn out the Les Mis soundtrack at least ten times. She has a hard time getting the words out to tell me when her tummy hurts, but she can sing 'On My Own' in a way that makes people cry.

    Anyways, hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Forgive me if my comment was full of typos, I'm fighting with my blackberry and it is winning. :)

  3. I LOVE that image of your sister, Janelle - singing 'On My Own' - that's one of my favourite songs and I love the mental picture I have of her singing it, despite speech challenges. THanks for sharing...and I'm so glad you loved the movie too!


  4. I went to see it with a friend on Wednesday. I saw the stage production once when I was in High School. I enjoyed the movie and thought it was very well done. Towards the end I had tears in my eyes more than once. I'm not sure if I'd recommend watching it when having a family member in ICU fighting for her life. I am really glad I got to see it in the theatre though.

  5. Eileen, I can totally imagine, with all of the emotion that the movie evoked, that it may not have been great timing to see it.
    I am so sorry to hear that your MIL is still in ICU...any changes/progress?