Saturday, 19 January 2013

{Slightly Scatterbrained} Thoughts on Les Miserables

*I apologize this has been a bit long in coming... please enjoy!*
Note: minor spoilers / synopses


You might know I'm a huge fan of Les Misèrables... that's why I was so excited about the movie, which came out on December 25th, 2012 (yep, CHRISTmas Day). Generally I would not go to a movie on Christmas Day, but Les Mis was my family's exception. :) 

Note: I really do adore this musical, though I understand it's not for everyone and I posted a it of a disclaimer here

The following is not exactly a review... at least not a review as one would traditionally write. These are basically my "two cents" on Les Mis along with a bit of info about the movie... and, as the title suggests, this "review" is rather... "scatterbrained". Even so, hope you enjoy! 

I. A New Version! 
Les Mis the movie is obviously a different dimension and a different take on the musical than what you would see on Broadway. That being said, many of the main actors are indeed actors, and not Broadway stars (with the notable exception of Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean, playing the Bishop! Love it!). The actors and actresses were also filmed live (with a hidden piece playing the piano in their ear to help keep them on tune), rather than pre-recorded like other musicals, such as The Phantom of the Opera (2004). They were also able to change the tempo. Being a movie, they are able to whisper and speak softly, which is also quite difference from the belting and strong voices you would hear on the Les Mis tour. :) So if you are used to listen to, say, the Symphonic Recording of Les Mis, or the 25th Anniversary Concert, or something along those lines, this movie will be a change, but a good one. 

II. Say what? What's this all about, anyway?
In brief synopsis, Les Mis is the story of a convict, Jean Valjean, who upon being released on parole, is shown kindness by one man and one man alone... a Bishop who gives him a place to stay and food to eat. Valjean repays the bishop by stealing the man's valuable silver. When Valjean is discovered and brought back, the bishop lies, saying that he gave Valjean the silver. "I have saved your soul for God," he tells Valjean (or rather...sings). Valjean decides to start a new life, changing his name and breaking parole. The movie follows Valjean in his journey to follow the Lord and to show God's love to others. But this journey is not easy... a police inspector called Javert doggedly hunts him throughout the story. More about 'im later. :) 

Part of Valjean's story includes his mercy and love towards a young woman called Fantine (who sings the well-known song, "I Dreamed a Dream" and who is portrayed as Anne Hathaway in the movie). Fantine has made some unfortunate choices in order to send money to her daughter Cosette, who she had out of wedlock and is currently living at an inn with a pair of... um, interesting innkeepers (though Fantine is made to believe they are good people). Fantine's love for her daughter is refreshing and touching, and Valjean's care for Fantine is also sweet and beautiful. Fantine's story is redeeming, but, um, the movie is rated PG-13 for a reason. :p Fantine's choices are portrayed in the song "Lovely Ladies", which has an inappropriate part. You can read more about this in the PluggedinOnline review here

When Valjean goes to fetch Cosette from the evil innkeepers she is living with, the innkeepers and those staying at the end sing "Master of the House", a part of Les Mis that I really abhor. Some people find it amusing, but the Thenadiers (the innkeepers) as comedic relief doesn't really work for me. To me, it's laughing or chuckling at evil because the Thenadiers are evil. But I'll try not to be too longwinded here and simply say: I'm excited for Les Mis on DVD, because I will be planning to fastforward some scenes.

As I mentioned, I know this movie is not appropriate for everyone; if you have not experienced Les Mis before, I would strongly suggest talking to your parents about it and preferably see it with your parents (or guardians) as well! :) 

IV. Suddenly
A few new scenes and small changes were made to Les Mis the movie to make some things more clear, and to make the musical more like the book. Also, a new song was added: one called "Suddenly". It's a completely lovely song Valjean sings about Cosette, an orphan who he adopts as his own. The song makes me think of my family because I'm adopted and I have always adored Valjean and Cosette's relationship.


V. Javert
Though the actors seem quite accepted, Russell Crowe seems to be getting a lot of complaints. Poor guy. I thought he (and everyone else!) did a wonderful job, so I thought I'd write a word about his performance. Though he's definitely not Philip Quast, I think he did an excellent job, considering his profession is not that of a Broadway star! He's an excellent actor. Plus, I really love the orchestration at the beginning of Stars is amazing! I loved how the orchestra has changed a bit to help reinforce this new dimension of Les Mis. 

VI. Conclusion
Ok, these are my scattered thoughts... In conclusion, I adored Les Mis. Obviously there are a few parts I wish could've been omitted, but overall this is a beautiful and redeeming story of God's love... how an act of kindness can change a life. 

"To love another person is to see the face of God!" - Les Misèrables

What did you think?


P.S. "Scatterbrained"... ok, that word looks super weird. I've looked at it too much! 

P.P.S. Talia at Girlz of God has written a pretty epic review of Les Mis... check it out here! :) 


  1. I love your review (and this movie:))! And thanks for the shout-out, dear!

  2. From Riversbend:
    We have netflix and this movie is on it!:) Sounds good and I will have to watch it(been meaning to).


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