Les Misérables (2012)

Movie

Les MiserablesFirst off, don’t be mad about the rating, I know it’s super low and most likely will anger many Hathaway fans, Jackman fans and Hooper fans as well, but I just couldn’t rate it higher than this. Reasons are quite simple, first off, I myself am not a fan of musicals, I would’ve avoided Les Misérables completely if I hadn’t promised to see all the Best Picture nominations. Second reason being the fact that this movie happened to be in a situation of comparison, and currently the lowest score I’ve given was one point higher than RAW. Therefore, taking into account MY personal preferences and MY experience with the previous nominations, Les Miséreables failed to impress.

Now that I’ve gotten past the very difficult introduction, one that I was honestly frustrated to write, I’m gonna try to explain my take on Les Misérables. As far as preferences go, like I said, I’m not a musical kind of girl and that is why it took me so long to even get motivated enough for me to see it. As I predicted, which I think also influenced my opinion in a long run, I did not get invested in the story enough for it to have an emotional impact. Which is funny, because there were couple of songs that could’ve gotten a tear or two out of me but like I said, I was distancing myself from it since the beginning. Therefore, this review is less about the movie and more about my own child like rant because I honestly can’t say specifically that Les Misérables is bad – I can just state, which I have been doing now for almost two paragraphs, that the movie was bad for me.

There have been a lot of reviews on this movie already and they have been the only ones I’ve been reading, as I’m usually staying away from reading about movies I haven’t seen. Because of my previous knowledge, and now having my own opinions on the matter, I can agree on couple of things that have been going around. For instance, Russell Crowe’s singing which compared to the rest of the cast was definitely a week point. I even felt as if he was simply musically presenting a poem at times and it was rather comical, though I assume it was supposed to be menacing. Another is the praise towards Anne Hathaway, for her (very) small role together with the famous song “I Dreamed a Dream” – the girl was good, I mean, she can sing, no doubt about it and if we’re gonna leave the ugly crying/singing aside, the role stood out.

Visually I would say the whole production was brilliant, I have nothing bad to say about the way it looked but it just bothered me how the whole plot came together. And I know it’s not the movie, it’s the genre that uses these short clips and then suddenly they are running to a new story line, just, a minute here and then a minute there, all accompanied by singing. For me, musicals belong in the theater, I have nothing against watching a musical on the stage it’s the movie versions that seem to leave me less impressed. Though, I was fairly entertained when Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen were on the screen. They were just, having fun with it but it was because their characters had so many entertainment style elements. I especially enjoyed seeing them all dressed up in the end, sneaking into the party – I mean, they were the highlight for me.

Still, highlights aside, Les Misérables ended in the bottom of the chain in terms of other Best Picture nominations I have seen which means I was almost forced to give it such a low rating. I mean, it terms of movie quality, it is definitely higher than my rating, in terms of acting, it is definitely higher than my rating but in terms of actually liking the movie, personally, it is what it is. So, keep your torches and your harsh words, I’m not saying Les Misérables is bad, I just didn’t like it. (Which is well reflected in my inability to write a longer review about it).

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  • Reply
    Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop
    February 21, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Yeah if you’re not into musicals, there’s not going to be much here that will convince you otherwise. I really enjoyed it but I don’t mind musicals and I’m a big fan of Les Mis. It definitely has its flaws but I think it was handled pretty well. It ain’t half long though.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 21, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Well, in terms of the genre it is either like or don’t like and it seems that if you end up in the “don’t like” side, you’ll be a bit… disappointed. But like I said, it’s not the movie, it’s me. 😀

  • Reply
    Natalie Stendall
    February 21, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    I’m not fond of musicals that much either but Les Miserables really impressed me. Some of the performances were incredible and I was swept away by the emotion of it. The first half was definitely more powerful than the second half though, and it did feel over long without an interval!

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      The first half had more going on for sure, but I was just emotionally distant for some reason. Maybe it’s the cold Estonian winter that makes me emotionless but I’m still glad other people can enjoy it for what it is.

  • Reply
    CMrok93
    February 21, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Good review Ray. The cast is all great at singing and that’s where the emotional impact of this movie came from. It’s not perfect, but it works with everything it tries and that’s what mattered to me.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 21, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      I think I would’ve loved to see Les Mis in the theater.. I think it would’ve worked better for me, but.. then again, I’m no musical expert.

  • Reply
    Mr Rumsey
    February 21, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Nice review, I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would after the negative reviews that were floating around. I’m a fan of the stage show though so perhaps that helped!
    Have you seen Cabaret? It would be interesting if you had because I know a fair few people who like that and yet as a general rule don’t get along with musicals at all.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 21, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      The only musical I have enjoyed is Moulin Rouge and the cell block scene from Chicago.

  • Reply
    Brittani
    February 21, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Don’t feel bad for rating it low. It’s understandable. I really enjoyed Les Mis, but that’s because I like musicals. It didn’t make my top 10 at the end of the year.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 21, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      Well, I feel a bit bad because the low rating looks so bad but then again, it was compared to the other nominations and then, it makes all the sense.

  • Reply
    Bonjour Tristesse
    February 22, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    I’ve actually seen the stage production multiple times, yet I’m probably going to skip watching this one, because like you, I generally don’t like musicals turned into movies. Good review MR.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      On stage it feels.. more natural than on the screen, right?

      • Reply
        Bonjour Tristesse
        March 2, 2013 at 5:17 AM

        On stage everything is artificial… and you are always aware this is a performance put on by performers. On screen, the sets and camerawork distract too much from that. Well that’s how I feel personally.

        • Reply
          mettelray
          March 2, 2013 at 9:13 AM

          I think I’m just too used to distinguishing theater and movie screen with the same understanding: artificial. Theater, I know this isn’t real and it is mostly theatrical, artificial. On the movie screen I expect it to be NOT-artificial, and real but Les Misérables felt like a theatrical performance and I was uncomfortable with it.

  • Reply
    Inspired Ground (@InspiredGround)
    February 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Don’t feel bad. I hated it too. I enjoyed Chicago, but Les Mis was too much for me. Too dramatic to digest and they sing even when in regular dialogues. But it was refreshing the way they record the song when they act.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      It felt as if they never stopped singing and yeah, it was awful for me.

  • Reply
    Lights Camera Reaction
    February 22, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    I enjoyed it more than you, but it definitely had a lot of problems – the main ones being the director and the editing. It did drag a little at times too.

    • Reply
      mettelray
      February 22, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      I’m not good with long and dramatic movies, I had the same problem with Lincoln today! But Django, as long as Lincoln and Les Mis, never got too boring. So, I’m looking for entertainment in movies currently.

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