PLEASE NOTE: As the headline says, this post is for musical-theater nerds only. For people who already know the show. Otherwise stop reading. Don't scream at me about spoiler alerts because Russell Crowe kills himself!! OK? Kills himself. He dies. He's dead. Dunzo. Along with almost everyone else. Although some of them come back from the dead to sing about Jesus.
1) Going to see Les Miserables with someone who doesn't realize it's a musical is a hilarious experience. "Wait, is this a musical?" said my friend about one minute, five seconds in. He was the one who chose the movie. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
2) It's klutzy, it's all close-ups, all giant heads in dreary circumstances, and Hugh Jackman's giant head is particularly out-of-control giant, and veiny, and ugly, and never once does he take off his shirt or become a wolverine, which is ridiculous.
3) Russell Crowe's stiffness puts taxidermy to shame. It's like Russell Crowe wasn't available so they got Madame Tussauds' Russell Crowe to play Russell Crowe playing Javert, and the wax statue was all, "Yeah, I can sing. I can sing!! LET ME SING." Also, how satisfying is it when his body, post-jumping-off-building, lands on the side of that fountain and makes that crunching sound? Gah! That was so satisfying. And possibly an inside joke from the sound effects people about his stiff performance.
4) Anne Hathaway is amazing. As in, one is amazed how much better the movie gets when she's in the frame. I could watch her just standing there sewing for the rest of my life. Also amazing: how much better a song gets if she sings it. Who knew Fantine was even a character? Who in history has listened to "I Dreamed a Dream" all the way through—the most skippable song on the original cast recording, which has, let's be honest, a lot of skippable songs? "I Dreamed a Dream" is the worst. Until this movie. Where it is the best.
5) Helena Bonham Carter + Sacha Baron Cohen = not funny. They play the Thenardiers, the "comic relief," but in this case the comic relievers have been relieved of their comic relief duties. Or something. Mathematically, they cancel each other out? It's weird. It's almost riveting how boring their performances are.
6) Sweet battle scenes.
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