There are a couple of really great reviews at the Mail Online and the Telegraph – 5 stars from each. The reviews are starting to come in at Rotten Tomatoes, and oddly enough, the Tomatomometer is at 70%; so not all the critics are thrilled with it. I have a feeling that the type of film that it is, and the propensity of critics to either love or hate musicals, will have a lot to do with the consensus by those critics. One of the reviews there said, “there are large, emotionally susceptible segments of the population ready to swallow this sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. ”
A bit pompous. I feel insulted, and I haven’t even seen it yet.
Anyhoo…..here are some excerpts from the two reviews I mentioned earlier.
From the Mail Online:
Those of us who have seen Cameron Mackintosh’s stage production or who have read the novel understand the moral code that propels Javert to bring , as he proclaims, Valjean to justice. But it’s not made fully clear in the film what it is that makes him search for Valjean for nigh on two decades. That has nothing to do with Crowe’s performance, rather, I suspect, more to do with choices made in the editing room.
However, Crowe does something in the second part of the film, after the bloody revolution and after the barricades have come down that gives some sense of the conflicting emotions swirling around in the man’s mind. It’s a simple act of magnanimity that, I would argue, is as moving as any of the heartfelt musical numbers. I won’t give the moment away here but I have seen the scene make grown men cry, although some of them were sobbing well before then. And, interestingly, the moment was the actor’s own idea.
And after that you’ll cry some more when Eddie Redmayne’s superb revolutionary student Marius sings Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. He and Amanda Seyfried (as the grown up Cosette) make for a charming couple though, If life were fair, Marius would show some consideration to Eponine the lovestruck daughter of the Thenardiers who loves Marius but knows she can never have him.
Samantha Barks’ Eponine has a heart of gold, and a voice made in heaven when she sings On My Own and A Little Fall of Rain. It’s hard to believe that Les Miserables is her screen debut. It’s as stunning a debut as I’ve seen in years. The camera loves her and so will cinema audiences.
From the Telegraph:
As in the stage production of Les Misérables, most of the dialogue is sung, not spoken, and Hooper’s masterstroke is to treat it as speech, not singing. The cast’s vocal performances were recorded on set as live rather than lip-synched to studio tapes, and this gives the music a vital, corporeal presence within the film: it’s like watching real,physical stuntwork instead of computer-generated trickery.
This also allows Hooper’s camera to zero in on his performers’ faces during the big, tremulous, heartfelt numbers, which in Les Misérables is all of them. When Russell Crowe’s Javert wrestles with his iron conscience, we can see the struggle behind his eyes. Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried play the lovers Marius and Cosette, and their duets are a miraculous clash of pouts and cheekbones.