Les Mis: Long, complex, amazing
Having been subjected to Les Miserables from a young age (thanks, Nana and Grandad) I'm sure you can imagine my mild excitement when the film was announced. Now, double that, and now you know how I felt when we received Christchurch premiere tickets. So with our over-large drinks that cost a fortune and the 50c lolly mixture supplied by the radio station we settled in our seats with bated breath.
I feel it's important to stress this movie is long, as in Lord of the Rings extended version long. While it is only two hours 40 minutes in real time - in viewing time it feels like days. For those of you unfamiliar with the musical or the 1998 film, a lot happens over the span of 20-odd years. It's a tale of pain, loss, poverty, sacrifice, forgiveness and love. Turns out that 19th century Paris was not the best of times to be alive.
While the story is long and complex, the music is just as amazing as it has always been. "Do you hear the people sing?" Well, yes we did, from the start until the end. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway had stand out performances that took the audiences on an emotional rollercoaster. Russell Crowe was surprisingly good and Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche stole the audience's heart. Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen supplied the much needed comic relief in a dark, tear jerking story. Having the ability to record the singing live on set meant the performances were honest, fresh and in the moment.
There is one scene that did disappoint for me. The iconic lowering of the barricade during the stage show takes the audience's breath away and there's the feeling of anticipation that sends shivers down your spine - in the movie this did not happen, it seemed like an almost non-event.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend it to the older generation and musical lovers of any age.
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