The Miserables

This weekend, Kelly and I went to see Les Miserables with the family. As a side note, we saw it at the West Olive AMC, which is like a restaurant and a movie theater mooshed together. It was an interesting idea, but the execute was lacking in a couple of places. One, it was ridiculously expensive. $200 for the movie and food for a group of six. The food was actually pretty good, but it was a little distracting. The waiters were walking around for the whole movie, and because of that, they had to leave kind of an obnoxious amount of light on. So it was a fun thing to do once, but I’m not sure that I would do it again.

Okay, so on to the movie. There has been a lot of discussion about the movie online, mostly negative, from what I’ve seen. And I would say that the reaction from my family was the same. Except for Kelly, who said it was her favorite adaptation of the musical she had ever seen. I would say I am closer to Kelly. I really enjoyed it, but think I might still enjoy the play more.

One of the main concerns that my family voiced was that it was too gritty. That I actually liked. The stage version can make 18th century France seem to clean. So while maybe it wasn’t pretty to look at, I thought it worked.

But let’s ignore those concerns and others about the pacing and cinematic choices. I want to talk about the singing. In particular, I want to talk about Russell Crowe.

Russell Crowe is getting blasted on the Internet. People are talking about him like he is the worst singer in the world. And I’m gonna be honest. I think that they are all completely full of shit. I thought Russell Crowe did an amazing job. And I say this having gone in thinking he was going to be awful. But I really thought his voice fit the part, and I thought that he was in tune, and I actually thought that there was a lot of nice subtlety to his voice. In fact, I would say that he was the most interesting performance in the whole thing.

So basically, to sum up – the Internet is wrong. The whole thing does work as a movie, the singing, while not perfectly sweet, fits into a story that isn’t meant to be sweet, and Russell Crowe did an awesome job.

One Reply to “The Miserables”

  1. You know me. I can’t resist grit & death & Frenchs.

    (And I’m with you re: Russell Crowe. I found his voice to be quite pleasant. Other internets, shut up! Granted, RC’s voice was at times a bit thin, but as a whole, that went along with the stylistics of the film being sung in real time. Would I have wanted that style on the stage? No. But did he sound bad? No, quite the contrary. Was he ever out of tune? No. And his acting performance was possibly my favorite.)

    (And also – I loved how they cast the original Valjean as the bishop in the film. You were very tolerant of my geek-out moment in the theatre).

    I really liked it. Even with the revamped version of the stage version in 2012, the whole thing was edging toward stale for me, but the film reignited my interest. It was over the top in all the right ways. And I had a great time. Thanks, Halleys!

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