10:17 pm - 12/18/2012

Les Mis Round-Up: A Review, Photos, Full Clip of 'One Day More' & Interviews

There are moments in Les Misérables, the movie musical adaptation from The King's Speechdirector Tom Hooper, that are so rumbling and rousing and righteous that certain people might be immediately transported back into the theater seat where they, smaller of body but probably bigger of heart, first fell in love with the sweep and swoon of musical theater. That's the big, definitive declaration I'm going to make about this turgid movie, a gut-pouring melodrama that never flinches in the face of its own largeness. I'm not sure how people who are not musical obsessives will react to the film — it takes the form very seriously — but for those with any decent amount of showtune-itis in their blood, Les Misérables is, I'm surprised to find myself saying, something of a must-see.

For those of you who weren't forced to read Victor Hugo's novel in high school or have never had a wacky aunt drag them to the stage show: Les Misérables tells the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) who flees parole to start a new life, only to have the stubborn Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) doggedly pursue him over the years. Valjean eventually becomes the father-figure ward of a young girl named Cosette (Amanda Seyfried, when she's older) whose mother Fantine (Anne Hathaway) — spoiler alert for a 150-year-old novel? — dies early on in the story. Valjean and Cosette get swept up in the 1832 June Rebellion, Cosette particularly with a young revolutionary named Marius (Eddie Redmayne). Hearts bend and break, people sing and die, and the world, or at least Paris, points toward a brave new tomorrow. It's a years-spanning, dramatic cliché-wielding bludgeon of a yarn, rife with too-convenient connections (roughly twenty people live in all of Paris, it seems) and heavily rendered sentiment, and the great thing about this movie is that it knows all of that about itself. Hooper and his cast throw any concern about the story's innate cornballness right into the Seine, and proceed with a dedication of purpose that is almost as stirring as the show itself. Everyone sings with eye-bulging passion, sweat and tears dripping down their dirty faces, which Hooper often shoots in tight, insistent closeup. The much-discussed choice to record the actors singing live, instead of laying track over in post, pays off handsomely; the musical numbers are urgent and natural, not the warmed-over, hokey, slick stuff of Nine or Rock of Ages. Those may be unfair comparisons, but frankly it's hard to find a good corollary for this movie. It's an extremely earnest opera starring a bunch of movie stars. What else is there like it? (Don't say Phantom of the Opera. That wouldn't be fair.)

To answer maybe the movie's biggest question, yes, Anne Hathaway gives quite the performance as the poor, doomed, trembling Fantine. There's a lot going on in her big "I Dreamed a Dream" number, Hathaway croaking and screeching it out with fluid pouring out of every hole in her face, but like the actress's jumble of big features, it somehow all comes together. Hooper gives Hathaway the appropriate context for all her theater-kid stuff, and she reigns supreme for much of the film as the story's most emotionally engaging presence. Which isn't to diminish what our hero Hugh Jackman is doing. Walking into the role like he was born for it (probably because he was), Jackman is more tuned-in and expressive than he's maybe ever been in the movies. Here is the ideal fit for both his old-school haminess and his modern movie-star gruffness. A wounded wolverine, a feral Peter Allen, whatever you want to call it, it plays like a dream. If they gave out Oscars for sheer effort, Jackman would win in a landslide. When I was discussing the movie with a friend afterward, we both wondered if this Les Miz would have happened at all had Jackman not been available. He's entirely integral to its success, appearing to love every minute of finally being able to marry his two professions in grandstanding fashion. Russell Crowe, then, has a lot to live up to, and let's just say that he tries his darnedest. Like everyone else, Crowe indicates nothing but commitment to the task at hand. He's not a natural singer, at times almost laughably so, but like the kid in the school play who sells the thing by sheer force of moxie, Crowe handily wins us over. That Javert is the show's most snooze-worthy character isn't his fault, after all.

As for the kids, Seyfried trills and warbles as sweetly and tinnily as she did in Mamma Mia!, a perfectly pious and bland Cosette. West End vet Samantha Barks, playing poor lovesick innkeepers' daughter Eponine, gets her important job done; she's a ringer brought in to nail "On My Own" before unceremoniously fading away, and she seems determinedly aware of her kamikaze duty. As the Y chromosome corner of the kids' love triangle, the angel-faced Eddie Redmayne uses his Cambridge choir tenor to great effect, bringing the house down, everyone in a teary heap in the basement, during the show's most affectingly written song, the mournful "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." He and Seyfried don't have much innate chemistry, but they sing-blast their way past that problem, and anyway they only get one real scene of courtship, so it's not a glaringly recurring issue. Plenty of strong support is offered by a cast of dozens, including Broadway heartthrob Aaron Tveit as rebellion leader Enjolras and little Daniel Huttlestone as precocious street urchin Gavroche. Only Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, playing the thieving Thénardiers, don't quite click with the picture. They seem to have walked in from another movie, one costumed by Tim Burton, and their comic relief shtick is an awkward sore thumb in an otherwise serious production. Still, they at least appear to be having a good time. Hooper has put together a strong company, and all seem completely sworn to the cause.

This is not a perfect film, of course. There are stretches that drag, particularly the middle section that leads up to the rebellion and a Return of the King-esque overly drawn-out ending. And, yes, there are parts where all the sturm und drang tips over into silliness. But for it earnestness, its vibrant and genuinely moving esprit de corps, and its simple and sweet messages about love and faith, Les Misérables is a heart-pounding success. Some may balk at all the sing-speak, others at the movie's complete ignorance of irony, but I suspect that if you've ever felt the goosebump chill of a big showstopping number burrowing its way into your soul, you'll find something to cheer for here. The film's opening day, on December 25, feels just right — after all, what could be more Christmasy than destroying cynicism with song?

Les Mis SAG screening
A special screening and Q&A of Les Miserables on December 15 at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, California


Eddie featured in Esquire UK – January 2013


Amanda Seyfried & Hugh Jackman: Pre-Golden Globes Nominee Party

Amanda Seyfried keeps herself warm with a trench coat while attending a Pre-Golden Globes Nominee Party at Spago on Friday (December 14) in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The 27-year-old actress was joined by her Les Miserables co-stars Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne.

Chloe Moretz was also spotted attending the party.

The day before, Amanda was on hand to support Hugh while he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Full Clip of 'One Day More'


Movie Clip - "Release Me" with Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop


Clips of Amanda on Conan - December 17


Facebook Interview with Hugh, Amanda & Eddie


Anne on Chelsea Lately - December 17


Hugh on Jimmy Kimmel Live - December 17

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peddlestools 19th-Dec-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
no thanks
gonerilandregan 19th-Dec-2012 03:26 am (UTC)
peddlestools 19th-Dec-2012 03:33 am (UTC)
i wait all day for lj to come back and this is the first post i'm greeted with? nhft
piratesswoop 19th-Dec-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
abbiemills 19th-Dec-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
one day more, tho.


Edited at 2012-12-19 03:23 am (UTC)
parker_hallie 19th-Dec-2012 03:56 am (UTC)
ikr, I already love him so I'm biased but his singing in ODM sounds incredible

gahhhhhhh I'm so excited!
abbiemills 19th-Dec-2012 04:12 am (UTC)
Right? He's like, the main reason I'm excited for this. I need my bb to be successful.
mhfromnh 19th-Dec-2012 04:30 am (UTC)
where is his tag?
evilgmbethy 19th-Dec-2012 01:15 pm (UTC)
he really is a revelation, I've never seen him in anything but the clips have sold me. And I don't even usually give a shit about Marius.
holyfrijoles_2 19th-Dec-2012 03:26 am (UTC)
amanda is a pretty weak singer...
angelakinsey 19th-Dec-2012 03:28 am (UTC)
Is that Gavroche in the One Day More clip? Oh, it's just a baby playing him, I'm going to be sobbing in the theater.

I'm missing the spinning stage marching a little, but it's kind of amazing.

I have so many feels about this, guys.
amkf 19th-Dec-2012 03:31 am (UTC)
Eddie Redmayne's poses in that photoshoot are really try-hard and ridiculous.
mistycreed 19th-Dec-2012 03:34 am (UTC)
I don't like how slow the song is.
vehiclesshockme 19th-Dec-2012 03:34 am (UTC)

So many thoughts but I'll just start with I would not follow that weak ass Enjolras to the barricade.
little_vienna 19th-Dec-2012 03:39 am (UTC)
'Aaron Tveit'

documents 19th-Dec-2012 03:41 am (UTC)
vehiclesshockme 19th-Dec-2012 03:42 am (UTC)
I don't like what he does as Enjolras. Sorry.
so_chic_doll 19th-Dec-2012 04:31 am (UTC)

aaron tveit & weak ass don't ever go into the same sentence, you HEAR ME????
aerinsol 19th-Dec-2012 06:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, it was pretty terrible. Now I understand the critics comments about the direction. Such high hopes dashed. Hopefully it won't be Phantom level of bad.
little_vienna 19th-Dec-2012 03:35 am (UTC)
I loved the clip. I didn't even dislike Crowe that much. Seyfreid, however... oh dear. Her voice sounds paper-thin and just not pleasant to me.

But still I'm excited to see it. One week more!
abbiemills 19th-Dec-2012 03:48 am (UTC)
I actually like Crowe's body language as Javert. His voice isn't the best, but his acting makes up for it, imo.
egosumopacis 19th-Dec-2012 06:41 am (UTC)
I kind of like his weird sing-talking thing. I was really unsure the first time I heard a clip but it's growing on me.

I like the way they're doing the music for this a lot, with the ear buds and not lip synching to a recording, and I think I'm willing to accept that it's not going to be like seeing it on Broadway, which will still be one of the best experiences in the world.
nicenicegirl 19th-Dec-2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
idk he didn't show any sort of emotion at all in the movie, it was strange. like i keep wanting to see Javret getting frustrated and he just...doesn't. and it didn't help that with how they filmed it, they did these extreme close ups of the actors during their singing so you're staring at Russell singing without emotion. it was really odd to watch.
nodaybuttoday27 19th-Dec-2012 03:40 am (UTC)
That clip concerns me....there is something that One Day More does to me. Whenever I see it live, I cry. When I listen to it in my car, I can't sing with it because I get close to crying. Watching this clip? Not even close. Maybe it will be different in the theater.

Still seeing it Christmas day though, got my tickets already.
documents 19th-Dec-2012 03:41 am (UTC)
I saw this movie on Friday, and I still can't stop thinking about it. I loved it so, so much.
bananasnrum 19th-Dec-2012 03:42 am (UTC)
this movie is bombing with top critics on rotten tomatoes.
mhfromnh 19th-Dec-2012 03:53 am (UTC)
they're critics, they hate everything.
bananasnrum 19th-Dec-2012 03:59 am (UTC)
wordnerd98 19th-Dec-2012 04:04 am (UTC)
Eh, we'll see how it does at the box office. Critics didn't like the original production when it premiered in London, either.
champagnexdream 19th-Dec-2012 03:43 am (UTC)
Eddie's face offends the fuck out of me. Why did I click!?
wordnerd98 19th-Dec-2012 03:45 am (UTC)
OP have you seen this?

aglows 19th-Dec-2012 03:48 am (UTC)
No! Omg... thanks so much for this! I am so excited to see Colm. I will definitely add it to the post!
wordnerd98 19th-Dec-2012 03:50 am (UTC)
Colm is king. The only bad thing about this clip is that it makes me wish the movie had been made when he was still young enough to play Valjean. :/ (I mean I like Hugh and all, but Colm can saaaaaaang)

Edited at 2012-12-19 03:51 am (UTC)
weruintooeasy 19th-Dec-2012 03:57 am (UTC)
barks >>> everyone else in that one day more clip. tveit is fine and sounds good (as i figured he would be) but idk he's not my enjolras. i thought i was fine with redmayne's voice but i didn't like him at all in this clip.
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