Sunday, February 03, 2013
les mis

I may be alone in my feelings about "Les Mis", but as I have said, whatever I say is just my opinion.
As you can see from the top picture, I chose the logo's for both the Stage Show and the Film, which are shown, side by side.
I saw the show in it's pre-Broadway stop here in Los Angeles back in whenever that was. I liked it a lot, but I cannot say that it was ever a very favorite show of mine.  I loved the people in it, and the story is epic, but I honestly was not crazy about the music, with some exceptions, of course. Basically Les Mis is really Opera, and that's fine, but it means you really have to have great voices to give this operatic score the justice it deserves.
And there in lies the rub, for me, where the film is concerned.  
With maybe one exception, (almost two)---no one in this film really has "the chops" to sing this complex Operatic score.
No one.  Not even the fantastically talented Hugh Jackman---and brilliantly talented he is, for sure.
Eddie Redmayne (Marius) comes the closest, for me.
the rest....including the highly lauded Ms. Hathaway, just didn't do it for me.  I know, I know---this is heresy....sorry, but this is how I feel.
And this was really brought home to me when by coincidence one of our PBS Stations here in L.A. showed, once again, the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Mis, about a week after I watched the film.  It was stunningly superb!  Lea Salonga, playing  'Fantine', was sublime!
What can I say?
There was an opportunity making Les Miserables into a film, to open the story up and not be limited by the proscenium.....that just didn't happen.
The film is beautifully produced and beautiful to look at, but.....well, I found it a disappointment. ALL that singing in close-up....No. Not for me. This is not an intimate story.....It is a huge story with enormous things happening, with some very intimate moments within the whole....It had this Hugeness on the stage----the battle scene on stage was simply amazing and inventive....and that is ironic when you think of the limitations of seeing something on a stage. The film could have gone way beyond what was possible within the proscenium. And it didn't.
For me, the film of Les Mis was a big Mis Step!


More To Come.....







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21 Comments:
had this to say:

Thank you Naomi. Pretty sure you saved me a couple hours of my time. I so trust your opinion. You haven't led me wrong yet.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 2:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am loving your reviews. Keep em coming.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 10:54:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I've never seen the show or the film and I really can't say I have any burning desire to either. I really don't like opera singing, especially mediocre opera singing so I think I'll pass on this one!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 11:40:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

a quick agreement with your heresy... Anne Hathaway didn't do it for me either! I thought I was alone lol!! I should know by now that you wouldn't hide how you feel!! Great review as far as I'm concerned..(and I too love Hugh Jackman!)

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:05:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I thought it was a beautiful spectacle to behold, but the story and character development was lacking for me. It was just okay as movies go, so I guess I agree with you.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:24:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

A lot of friends have seen Les Mis and really enjoyed it, but I can't say it's really interested me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:41:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

interesting.

I've seen the RSC production and it always gets rave reviews whenever its on in London.

I went as part of quite a large group and we were split down the middle with some thinking it was excellent and others less impressed. It has some big staging so there was certainly a sense of spectacle.

I gather, like you mention, that the film has had mixed reviews although they have tried to sell the raw-ness of the singing.

It's on my list but maybe not high enough to see at the cinema.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 2:23:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I love your reviews!!! I will, however, probably see it because I like Jackman and Hathaway but not until it's on Netflix.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 3:25:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I haven't seen it and I totally trust you on this one. I think I'll wait. I did see the show when it was here in Atlanta and liked it fine but it wasn't a show that left me wanting to see it over and over again (though there are many LM followers who do).

Till next post.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 4:22:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I haven't seen it, because the book and play were great, but movies to date have failed to capture the story, IMHO.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 4:32:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I have not seen either but I respect your criticism and I know you don't review something poorly unless it clearly lets you down and more could've been done with it. Sounds like it had potential but it didn't deliver. It happens.

Hope you are doing well, my friend. Lots of good wishes are being sent from me to you! xo

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 7:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks I was waiting for your take on this film Naomi. I enjoyed it I have to say but I have never read the book or seen the stage production. I was really disappointed with Russell Crowe I have to say as I did not think he played the character well at all. I loved Anne and Hugh. However, there was a lot going on all the time and I found myself wandering off at times. also in parts the singing was a little twee and made me want to laugh which was not the emotion expected.

Cannot wait for your next part. I am going to see the Life of Pi today!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 7:11:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I have never seen it and I am not sure I want to. I tried to read the book and it just depressed me. I suppose if it ever comes on TV I will try to watch. Your review doesn't make me change my mind about it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 7:52:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is such a classic in France that I was reluctant to listen to it in English. It’s like watching John Wayne on TV in Arabic – like I saw a segment once in Dubai – it just does not sound right. I wonder what poor Victor would think of his French book becoming an American musical then an English movie… I guess he would hope that it does not become a caricature.
I read that this film is not really based on the book but on the musical. So it is more a “musical” redone on film that an original “film” – that the backdrops show a lot of Notre Dame de Paris, like on the stage, and not too many other interesting places and that the songs become a bit monotonous and too close to the performers’ faces.
When we did our “movie” day back in December we saw the Life of Pi, then Argo and for the 3rd movie it was a choice between Les Miz or Sky Fall, the new James Bond. We opted for James Bond – and I liked it.
I heard that the new Les Miz film is excessively emotional – to please the public who likes a good tear jerker – and that there are hardly any dialogues - it’s more like an opera, but without tenors and sopranos… I think your review is right on.

Monday, February 4, 2013 at 3:15:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I have a strong feeling I will agree when I see this film version. People just don't get to 'Broadway' productions, nor certainly operas, enough to be able to compare. Sad.

Monday, February 4, 2013 at 7:56:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I must say I have not watch both, film & theatre but I think the effects would be great watching it live.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 4:12:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

It's good to hear your perspective. I have not seen it on stage, but always wanted to. So it might be just fine for someone like me. I'll probably wait for Netflix.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 5:14:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I saw the stage version of Les Mis in Toronto, and it happened to be the evening that Princess Diana was in the audience! I haven't seen the film, although I'd like to, just to compare it to the wonderful evening at the theatre.
Yes.... in answer to your comment.... soon to be five. He told me today that he has been feeling as though he was five for some time now, so he already knows what five feels like!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 8:59:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I love your reviews and I trust your opinion, Naomi. I've never seen it in the stage and the film yet... Like Diane wrote, I also have a strong feeling I will agree with you.

Hope you have a very nice weekend my dear.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:02:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I haven't been attracted to it because of the singing and because I LOVED the Liam Neeson version, so why see another. Although to be honest, I pretty much forget the story but at the time I remember saying it was an all time and life changing favorite (story).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I think you and Rick agree on this one, maybe for different reasons. A friend said she wondered what it would have been like if Jackman had played Valjean -- I think the obsession would have been stronger. I still liked it very much and better than the play but this weekend we watched the non-musical Liam Neeson-Geoffrey Rush version and the nuance was simply elegant.

Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 6:12:00 AM PST 

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