Crying my way through Les Miserables

100 movies of 2013

Les Miserables

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

Shoot me. I’ve lived in London for my whole life and seen a fair few musicals and plays and what nots in the West End. Yet have I seen Les Miserables? No. I’ve even seen a handful of musicals a good few times. But still no Les Mis for me.

Saying that, it’s not as if I was unfamiliar with the music from the show. I knew of I dreamed a dream, Suddenly, On my own and One day more. The story? Not totally familiar. Just it was something French. Revolution-y. Ish.

Les Miserables is a powerful film. Powerful, emotional and, sorry if I sound terribly film poster-y, but it is a triumph. As the title of this post suggest, yes, I spent 90% of my time crying while watching this film. Nearly every song hits you right in the gut. Knocks the wind, and the tears, right out of you. Though, much like everyone else who’s seen it, it’s Anne Hathaway’s performance and songs that really hit me where it hurt. Never thought Anne Hathaway would have such an amazing and strong singing voice. Backed up by an absolutely heartbreaking performance. Yes, Hugh Jackman’s was fantastic too. But, I expected greatness from him. And he delivered. Like Anne, amazing voice and stellar performance too.

I know there’s been a big deal made of Russell Crowe’s vocal performance. From my point of view, I saw nothing wrong with it. Yes, he’s got a very different singing voice to everyone else. But, to my untrained ears, I didn’t hear anything out of tune. Very powerful. Very authoritative. Much like his character.

Having all the actors sing while performing, rather than have songs recorded in a studio, gave the film much more of a real feeling. Am I right? None of this dubbed over and lip syncing.

The film itself is beautiful. Think the barricade scene made me think I was watching a musical onstage. The set felt very like a theatrical set, rather than film set. Yet to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing.

You could do a lot worse than cry your way through Les Miserables. In fact, if you don’t, I worry for your soul. And now, I’m on the hunt for some tickets to the West End musical. Ahhh… there are tickets available near May/June time!

Les Miserables (Viewed: 23/01/13 | Rating: 5/5)

Check out all of the films I’ve seen this year:

120+ movies: The King’s Speech

120+ Movies of 2011

One final movie before I head off on holiday.

The King's SpeechThe King’s Speech (19/01/11)

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

The King’s Speech really is as good as everyone is saying. It’s touching, funny and dramatic all at the same time. Colin Firth deserved to have won the Golden Globe for his role as King George VI and I do hope he goes on to get nominated for an Academy Award for it. All the actors cast in the film were brilliant to watch. Geoffrey Rush made for such a nice character. I couldn’t find a single flaw to him. And yet, he’s still so likeable.

I also loved the look of the film. The muted colours. The way some of the scenes between Bertie and Lionel were shot – really focussing on a portrait or face-on, close to the camera. Really stunning looking film.

Also, this poster image I’ve used – love it! It seems a bit unconventional for this type of movie. Looks more contemporary but I love it. The orange and the simplicity of it. Brilliant.

Excellent film, with great performances from everyone and just a joy to watch. See it!
Rating: 5/5

Read on to see the entire list of movies seen this year so far:

100 movies: From animated to just plain weird

100 movies of 2010

I think this is the highest number of movies I’ve seen in a single week. Or the last couple of weeks. It’s what helps me feel better when I’m not so well. So here’s the last few days worth of movies.

Alice in Wonderland (05/03/10)
I didn’t have the highest of high hopes for this movie. I was going into it expecting some amazing stuff from Tim Burton’s mind, crazy stuff from Johnny Depp’s and general entertainment. That’s roughly what I got. I did go and see the 3D version of the film and, to be honest, the 3D didn’t grab me. As more and more movies try out the 3D I’m finding myself getting more and more jaded by it. Not once did I oo or ahh at the 3D. In fact I was vaguely more impressed by the 3D trailer for Toy Story 3 and the Sky 3D advert! Some people in the cinema ooo’d when a teacup came flying at the screen, but in my mind it wasn’t really coming out of the screen.

Enough poo-pooing 3D, what about the film? I really enjoyed it, as I already said. The couple things I really liked was the vision and the casting. Tim Burton’s mind never fails to give you something that looks amazing. And I wasn’t disappointed at all here. Wonderland looked amazing. All the characters were brilliantly conceived. Just lovely to look at. Then there’s the casting, which in my mind was perfect. Everyone from Mia Wasikowska as Alice to Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. I couldn’t fault any of the cast on their roles. Just perfect casting. And Johnny Depp? Well he plays crazy really well and I thought he was great as the Mad Hatter.

I was slightly disappointed with Danny Eflman’s score. It really wasn’t that memorable. I can’t remember the last score of his where I thought ‘wow’.

It was a nice enough story. Nothing mind blowing and nothing unexpected. Good entertainment in my mind. I think my score might look slightly inflated, but I really loved the look of the movie.
Rating: 4/5

Bolt 06/03/10
Disney’s Bolt – a movie about a girl and her dog. Or just the dog. I’m a bit upset at myself for waiting so long seeing this movie. I’m a dog lover and I lap up anything that involves dogs and Disney. Yes, even Snow Buddies. I loved the film. Much funnier than I was expecting and I warmed to all of the characters more than I thought I would. I even forgot Miley Cyrus was in it! Bolt just reminded me of Axel so much at times! I miss that dog. So I had a fair few tears watching the movie. More than I was expecting. Rhino was hilarious. He really made me laugh. All in all a be-awesome Disney movie!
Rating: 4/5

Gran Torino (06/03/10)
I wasn’t expecting to laugh in this movie. All I knew was that it was Clint Eastwood going all badass on a bunch of neighbourhood thugs. There were quite a few laughs! Just at the bits where Walt is getting to know his neighbours and really getting into the community spirit. Fantastic film. Clint Eastwood was brilliant and I just really enjoyed the whole thing. Not completely what I was expecting, but that was a good thing. And the car? It is a thing of beauty! And here it is!
Rating: 5/5

Franklyn (07/038/10)
Umm, I don’t know what to say about this film. Throughout most of the beginning I was clueless as to what was going on. I thought the two narratives jarred incredibly. I understood how the two narratives were connected, but I just couldn’t buy into it. I was impressed by Ryan Philippe’s English accent! Eva Green was good too. Just couldn’t get behind this film much.
Rating: 2/5

Read more to see the full list of movies I’ve seen so far this year.