Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Les Miserables

When Kelly was here visiting, we took one evening and went to see the new movie Les Miserables.  Both Julie and I have it at or near the top of our favorite musicals.  If you even think you might enjoy the movie, go see it.  The acting and the singing were superb.  Here's the trailer.

Anne Hathway and Hugh Jackman both piss me off.  It seems wrong that one person should be able to hog up so much of the talent pool.  They both look stunning (although not in this movie), can act, sing, dance, and probably juggle flaming chain saws.  On top of that, they both come across in interviews as really nice, genuine people.  Like I said, they piss me off.
It is interesting to see the difference between the movie and the stage musical.  On stage, it is all about the singing.  Les Mis has gorgeous music, and the performers sing it beautifully.  In the movie, there was a lot more opportunity to act and convey emotions.  When you are laying on your death bed, sad about how your life has gone, it's hard to imagine belting out a song like an opera singer, but that's what tends to happen in stage musicals.  To me, the movie performances were much more realistic, adding a strong emotional component to an already sad story.

As good as Hugh Jackman sings, we came home and using the wonders of YouTube, brought up the version of Bring Him Home sang at the Les Mis 25th anniversary.  It gives you perspective of just how good the singing can be. By the way, if you haven't ever seen the 25th anniversary show for Les Mis, PBS airs it every year as part of their TV fundraiser.  It's done by a collection of the best-of-the-best performers from Broadway and around the world.  You can also see all two hours and forty minutes of it here.

An interesting little side story:  Colm Wilkinson was the original Jean Valjean in Les Mis on Broadway and many consider him to be a key reason the show was so successful.  In the movie he was cast as Bishop Myriel, who steers Valjean towards the path of righteousness. Pretty cool that they found a spot for such a talent.

My bottom line:  if you hate movie musicals, don't go.  If you like Les Miserables on stage or at least tolerate movie musicals, this is about as good as it gets.  It shows a lot better on the big screen and a good sound system than it ever will on your TV.
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