While not as miserable as Les Miserables I do have some kind of nasty virus ravaging my body. Fortunately, I don’t think it will force me to cut my hair or sell my teeth. However, since I am pretty sure I caught this virus from the theater where I went to watch Les Mis, I have had a lot of time to reflect on the movie.
What I have come up with is this: This movie ruined Les Miserables for me. It really did.
Now, this isn’t to say that the movie is horrible. It’s not. It’s not great, either, but it’s certainly not cinematic drivel. It’s very well sung (with two notable exceptions – Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried, who are way out of their depth) and the CGI is used well. The actor who plays Marius is cute in a freckled, nerdy way, and Anne Hathaway really does perform an amazing rendition of I Dreamed a Dream.
Here’s the problem: I saw Les Mis multiple times as a child. I had memorized every song, listened to the soundtrack during car trips. I dreamed of playing Eponine – I rocked On My Own in my daydreams. I loved this musical.
But what is romantic when you are 8 is often downright dumb when you are 31. And when you are seeing it on a screen, which lacks the magic of theater, it makes it that much more obvious.
My most notable gripes about the movie:
Javert – OCD much? Exactly why does he pursue Val Jean so ruthlessly? This never seemed to bother me while watching the musical, but in the movie, it was like a big question mark. Seriously? Across like 20 years and numerous locales? Over a bread thief? Why? Did Val Jean cock block him once or something?
Marius and Cosette: Okay, I never enjoy “love at first sight” plot points that end in marriage because they are stupid and lead to divorce (at least in real life). Sure, Cosette is pretty and they come from the same bourgeois background (kinda … since hers is fake), but they DON’T EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER. And poor, poor Eponine, who is pretty hot herself, is basically just throwing herself at Marius. Guys are stupid! And then she dies, rain makes the flowers grow, etc., and Marius still marries Cosette after knowing her for like one second.
The Thernardiers (or however you spell it): I am so over Helena Bonham Carter. First she ruined Bellatrix LaStrange, and now she ruined the innkeeper’s wife. Other reviews have said this as well; they really don’t add to this movie. Master of the House was one of my favorite songs in the show … I was ready for them to be off the screen 30 seconds after they entered it.
There were A LOT of bare feet in this movie. Which may be historically accurate, but it was still annoying to see people walking around in the snow with bare feet and perfectly white teeth. Hello chilblains. At the part where Val Jean buys Cosette a new doll, I literally wanted to scream at the screen: “buy her some damn shoes!”.
Those close-ups …. were too much. Sure, I got used to them by the head, but it really was like I was being shoved up Anne Hathaway’s nostrils. Also, the sets and costumes were really well done, but you hardly notice them because all you see is FACE. FACE, FACE, FACE. NOSTRILS! SNOT! TEETH! TONGUES! FACE!
Honestly, I expect that Anne Hathaway will win the Oscar, and I think she should. But I can’t see it bringing home much else, not when there are other far superior movies up for awards as well.
Go see it, if you want. But bring some hand sanitizer. And prepare for the movie to kill your dreams, as well.