Book to Film: Les Miserables

Okay, it is no secret the Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is probably my favorite book – period. It is definitely my desert island one book (besides the Bible). I’ve seen the musical and love the music from it. So when I found out that they were making a movie, I may have screamed a bit -or a lot. When I found out who the cast was going to be though, I became a bit nervous about it. The musical has very heavy vocal responsibilities and by putting such famous faces in the lead role, I was concerned that there was going to be a repeat of the mess that was Phantom of the Opera (you can’t have a phantom who can’t sing on pitch  – just saying).

I was bit nervous but then a friend of mine saw it before it came out and simply raved about it. It made more more optimistic since we have very similar tastes. I was excited again. Then I saw the clip of Anne Hathaway singing Fantine. That was it for me. I simply had to see this movie as soon as possible.

The Thenardiers

I sat down with my husband and one of my best friends to watch it and I can say that I was thoroughly entranced by the whole thing. I honestly loved the casting and the emotion in the performances. Anne Hathaway though, was definitely the highlight of the film for me. Her interpretation of Fantine was phenomenal. While Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were not the strongest singers I’ve ever heard, you could tell that a whole lot of effort went into making sure those performances were up to par and what they lacked slightly in singing ability, they made up for in spades with their acting ability. Their choice of Marius was excellent. Amanda Siegfried made a passable adult Cosette, although I think they might have found someone better. The little girl who played the child version of Cosette was wonderful. In the Broadway show, I have never heard a kid who could sing that part as well as the little girl in the movie did it (disclaimer: I’ve only seen the tour, not a production in New York or another standing show). I even liked their casting for the Thenardiers‘. I knew before I saw it though that they would be great fit for the role. I like almost everyone, except for one character – Eponine. Honestly, I think she had the emotional range of a teaspoon and didn’t really communicate the emotion that should have gone with the role. Every song she sang felt flat and uninspiring, especially in comparison to the emotion that went into the performances throughout the rest of the movie.

I really am enjoying this trend of bringing major musicals to the movie screen. I think it offers so many great storylines and allows them to be seen by a much larger audience. Overall, this is one of my favorite music adaptions to date, although with Wicked in production, we’ll see how long it stays there.

There is a reason Anne Hathaway got an Oscar for her performance. If you haven’t seen this one, you are missing out.


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