Tom Hooper’s Les Mis (I will not confused the adaptation v Hugo’s masterpiece) to be UK-released the 11th that January. This movie is a bold experiment. What else it is…is hard to to speak exactly, though others have had actually plenteous and helpful points to say.

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I wanted to love the film, and also when ns didn’t I want to hate it, yet liked it too much for that. I suggest the need to think about nuances that music, adaptation, and theme.


Right off, let’s name names. Anyone knows Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were actors for marketability. Three hrs of much better singing would have been appreciated. These carry out their best, yet we i will not ~ be celebrate the uniqueness of your performances if we only had actually to celebrate their excellence.

The ensemble balances things considerably. Eddie Redmayne impresses. Samantha Barks has the chops meant of a phase pro. The child actors rule. The elephant overshadows everyone through its Parisian whiteface wooden performance.

I’m helped by Brett McCracken’s ahead post. He’s a savvier film movie critic than I. However, the film battles musically because that two factors he there is no addressed.

First, the music was constantly mediocre. I’m v the movie critics on this. It’s provocative, that moving, it’s—dare i say it—written for popular appeal. The isn’t wrong, however let’s not confuse emotionally currency, an essential awards, or ticket sales with excellence. This performance might be far better than Susan Boyle’s, and Les Mis would certainly still it is in the French proverbial barrel that wine through a spoonful of sewage.

Second, the noble danger of this production stumbles. Ns love—LOVE—long takes and also uncut performances. Ns LOVE the concept of actors to sing their components live rather of studio-canning and dubbing them. Because that the huge numbers, the dramatic performances in these long takes space terrific. This should have actually been a magic combination and I wanted it to succeed so very, very badly.

These vocalists sing phase solos together chamber pieces, which requires genius arrangement, however the singers received an imaginative liberty to interpret and also deliver. Music that overemphasizes individuality degenerates into self-absorption. Hooper indulged his actors as soon as they necessary a conductor, a choreographer, and accompaniment holding lock accountable. And Auto-Tuning. Strong acting and post-production scoring can’t deal with this. Sticking microphones come the singers and filming in their encounters just exaggerates the faults. There is no perspective, visually or acoustically. It would need to be perfect come succeed.

Anne Hathaway’s performance is just about perfect. She should get the Oscar. The rest is uneven. Hooper wanted emotional depth through music, however his brazen approach, rather of revolutionizing the genre, dives in at the shallow end. Let’s hope someone repeats the music experiment however corrects the mistakes.

My 2nd contention because that nuanced evaluation is the this film is not Victor Hugo’s novel. Neither to be its musical before it. The movie isn’t gift seriously judged through the source material. In which method the cognoscenti won’t was standing for this v Inklings, but Les Mis Crit is indifferent. This is due to the fact that no one reads the novel any kind of more.

The musical no a failure because it’s an adaptation. Adaptations require liberty to occupational in their adapted medium. The Wright/Stoppard Anna Karenina is the most recent daring but successful adaptation. Les Mis cherry-picks, together it should, the 1400-page novel. But in perspective Les Mis : Les Misérables :: Jesus that Nazareth : The Gospels.

For all Hathaway’s triumph, her 10-minute arc is a petite misérable contrasted to Hugo’s Fantine, who decade-long descent through loss the love, lose of child, toil, abuse, starvation, prostitution, and tuberculitic fatality is one utter horror. Similarly for every character, however especially Valjean that is for this reason engulfed in his own hatred and also sanctification. Every personality is a misérable, and Hugo’s illumination the suffering and grace rivals Tolstoy’s. What West finish musical could grasp together an idea?

I’m angry that Les Mis it s okay pride of location over Les Misérables. Am ns being reasonable about this? No. Complete failure that nuance on my part. Blast. Yet it would certainly be just as basic to create The magnificent Comedy the Musical.

More reflectively because that the last contention, i wonder how deep-set the redemptive hooks are. I get that if us look for an excellent it’s a constructive exercise. Jason Hood find sympathetic themes. Is the redemption that the film overwhelming? There are troubling implicitly themes needing cautious work.

There could be a whole article on ‘I dreamed a Dream’. Has anyone unpacked what this song means and what that does? essential exercise.

The line around ‘to love an additional person is to watch the confront of God’ isn’t Hugo. Nobody of united state would congratulate a student for this together a conclusion. That humanist wash on a boy-gets-girl-back-while-savior-dies ending.

Who room the an excellent guys, really? The profligate monarchy? The deposed bloody Republic? No, we stand on the barricade and lift our posthumous voices v the radical socialists. Hugo had no such illusions, and the polis no the point: “What room the convulsions that a city in comparison with the insurrections the the soul?”


I’m much more of a snob 보다 I choose to be. “There’s constantly a petard in a seminary fellow.” however I’m not a scoffer the likes of Anthony Lane, whose criticism tempts me. I want this film to succeed. In ours jaded age, we need an excellent music that stirs deep emotive responses come beauty. It really is something to sit in a theatre when nearly everyone is crying, however performances that stir emotive responses no proof we have actually beheld the beautiful. Justin Bieber have the right to do that. “Artistic individuals are likewise consistent peoples. To love beauty beauty is to watch the light.”

This movie is a an excellent movie and also a visual triumph, but I wonder what it might have been. This film is a fault adaptation of a mediocre musical adaptation of one of the best novels of every time. The film might make girlfriend cry. The book will change your life. Nothing go check out the movie again, start reading the book.

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Fr Micah Snell has actually a day job writing a phd on theology and Shakespeare at the university of St Andrews’ Institute because that Theology, Imagination and the Arts. Girlfriend too deserve to join the very exclusive cadre that his Twitter followers.