It'll come as no surprise to most of you that I went to see Les Miserables this past weekend. Or... well... it may be a surprise that it took me so long to see it, I guess.
While I was really excited to see it - I'm a huge Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman fan - I was also a little nervous about it. I wasn't sure how much "Hollywooding" would have happened to the show. And I really wasn't looking forward to seeing (or, rather, hearing) Russell Crowe in it.
So I bided my time to watch some of the reviews come out (mostly from friends of mine - not from professional reviewers), so that I could have my expectations mitigated. And then I went this weekend.
Now, I have to admit that I saw Les Mis on Broadway a number of years ago in its nearly four-hour-long glory. I was in the cheap(-ish) seats way up in the balcony, and it was hard to tell which character was which, and I really didn't get into it until people started dying. Which just happened to be about the same time that probably 1/4 of the people in the balcony all had to get up to leave to go catch their busses. So... Not the best experience.
Even so, I wanted to see the movie. And with my expectations appropriately lowered, I headed out.
Here's the thing you need to know (which was explained to me a week or so ago by Christopher): You can't go to it expecting a Broadway musical. You have to go to it expecting a movie.
What he didn't explain was that, once you get your mind wrapped around it being "just" a movie (which helped, I have to admit, with sitting through Crowe singing a few clunkers), you find yourself totally enthralled by the movie.
Yes, the plot is intense. Yes, the scenery and costumes are incredible. Yes, the cameras being two feet from people's faces at all times got to be a bit much at times.
But the singing. Holy crap. Watching those people on screen sing "live" (not over-dubbed and singing to a pre-recorded track), and doing full songs in what appear to be single takes. That was powerful. (Because I haven't, yet, said it enough: Anne Hathaway is amazing.)
I believe I've admitted, before, that I am a movie cryer. It just happens for me, and I deal with it. Luckily, I found myself 20 minutes from the end of the film trying to figure out when one of my favorite songs was supposed to show up, and so I didn't get too emotional - but I did shed a couple of tears, and I watched a number of people mop themselves up before going out into the light of day.
Is it the best movie of all time? No. Is it an amazing example of how a Broadway musical can transfer to film and still have incredible impact? Yes.
Rating: A. (I'm so close to giving it an A+, but Russell Crowe just took that one percentage point away.)