Monday, July 8, 2013

Les Miserables [2012 movie version]

Les Miserables was suggested by PK after she saw the movie a few months ago.  Being a very very long book, a decision was made to discuss the 2012 movie version. 

It does not appear to be available on Netflix. Amazon offers a 2-day streaming "rental" for $4.99, or you can purchase rights to view anytime, however many times, for $12.99. Should be available at video stores, or even for free at your local library. Feel free to join in if you saw this, or read the book!

I am still working my way through the movie, but please feel free to begin discussion.


  1. Redbox has it, and codes are available to get a free rental, pretty easily found via Google.

    DH and I watched it tonight and really enjoyed it. Will check in again with more comments later.

  2. One of the things I really liked about this movie was that Javert is portrayed as such a complex character. He is far more likeable in this movie than in the older version I've seen, or in the book. You can really see his internal conflict following as his internal sense of justice and goodness grows in conflict with Jean Valjean's forcing him to question his reality and the rightness of the letter of the law and his view of humanity. To me the absolute most touching scene in the movie is when he gives his medal to another character (don't want to spoil it for those who may not have read it. )

    When I first saw the movie, it was on the large screen, and I missed the first few minutes, coming in at the point where Fantine begins her downward spiral. I found the following scene very overwhelming and dark, leaving me feeling almost dirty, and not having the buildup of the previous scenes emotionally, that sort of took over the tune of the movie for me and rather spoiled the overall effect of the movie for me.

    On a smaller screen, and with the earlier parts of the movie leading up to it, I found it much less overwhelming. Even though one particular scene was quite graphic and disturbing, it did not seem to be done in a gratuitous way and certainly didn't glorify the issue.

    I loved both the younger and the older actresses that played Cosette. The older one in particular was quite expressive and had a Shakespearian "Juliet" quality about her. I also thought Marius and Eponine were well cast and acted. . . Eponine especially I found a sympathetic character that pulled at my heartstrings. I'm amazed that she grew up to have such a selfless sacrificial love with the parents she had.

    My absolute favorite character in the movie was Gavroche, the little boy. But somehow I did not realize he was one of the Thenardiers' children until just now when I was looking up the characters to remember their names.

    Although I liked the actor who played Jean Valjean, I was a little disappointed whenever he opened his mouth to sing. Although he has amazing technical ability, power and vocal range, I got the feeling that he really was not a natural tenor, and the music was too high to bring out his best vocal qualities. In the higher notes particularly his voice seemed strained and harsh to me, and I constantly had the feeling that his voice did not match his face or personality. Although he sang present and on pitch, it felt grating to me. . . unlike Gavoche who had a beautiful quality to his young tenor.

    Javert did not have the power or quite the complexity or emotion in his voice, but I found it more pleasant to listen to than Jean Valjean.

    I really loved Eponine's singing scenes too.

    Because this was a movie adaptation that stayed fairly faithful to the original idea, by necessity the pace of the story was dragged out significantly by the numerous long musical numbers. But I enjoyed the music for its own sake as well.

    I also appreciated the fairly historically accurate setting. It took a fairly obscure series of events and made it memorable. I found myself thinking about how increasingly as a society we have unreasonably harsh penalties for crimes that do not seriously harm anyone,  and in some ways the movie seemed a possible snapshot of the direction in which our society may be moving in some ways.

    1. Argh, sorry about the autocorrect errors. Posting from my phone.