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Seven Sentence Reviews: Les Misérables, The Movie Musical

February 10, 2013

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Number of times I saw it in the movie theater: 3

Number of times I have seen the stage show: 10

Number of times I’ve read the unabridged novel: 1

The translation of Les Misérables the musical from stage to screen retained roughly seventy percent of the theatrical material and made tweaks and additions to bring the film closer to the novel. The film clearly intended to inspire tears rather than goosebumps and was a complete success on that front.

Ann Hathaway’s honest and vulnerable performance of I Dreamed a Dream is the best chance the film has of becoming iconic in either live theater or cinematic realms. The film had many highlights, including A Heart Full of Love (which I traditionally disdain), Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, and an unsung but tear-jerking moment between the rigid policeman Javert and street urchin Gavroche.

Among the singing talents on display, Russel Crowe’s was the furthest off the mark—so much so that Javert’s impact on the plot seemed diminished, despite revamped and riveting orchestrations behind his signature song, Stars.

I saw Les Misérables in the movie theater three times because I wanted to remember it on the big screen and hear it in surround sound. I didn’t go see it four times because frequent close up shots and understated singing provoked an offhanded, but ultimately damning remark: the film does not beg to be seen in a movie theater—a television will capture its scope just as well.

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