Reading the book in college and watching the first film years ago (the one with Claire Danes playing Cosette) did not prepare me for the boombastic waterworks and poignant raw emotions Les Mis 2012 brought out of me this evening.
I wish I can say I was sniffing at a theater but I was, in fact, sniffling in bed while straining to watch the entire movie on my 7-inch Lenovo android tablet.
My respect for Anne Hathaway as an actress soared from Princess Mia Thermopolis chick flick cute admiration to Rawr Catwoman Hotness to “Wow what an Oscar winning performance!” reverence. Beautiful is an understatement for her, for the film, and for the entire cast.
Russell Crowe got some occasional flak from a critic for his performance as Javert. But his tone was seamless and I loved him as much as I loved the rest of the cast. Haunting, the way he mentioned the prisoner number in a crude and debasing manner.
The flow was so fast, which kind of had me choking in my chest after the last scene. I kind of needed some space as a viewer to catch my breath and “inhale” the scenes or take in the emotion it elicited in me. It was something I actually did brutely by pausing the video after each moving performance. I could not watch it straight. My poor heart just could not handle some of the moments in that film.
I did pause a lot and hit some rewinds particularly on Hathaway’s heartbreaking “I Dreamed a Dream” and Eponine’s “On My Own.” That was just… a moment of its own in a sea of momentous moments.
IMHO, this film’s Cosette was better than the last. But it was really Fantine’s character which drew me since the first time watched a Les Mis film. Cosette did not work so hard as a character, so I don’t really know. I am biased and it was so-so to watch from my end compared to the others.
This version amplified the Jean Valjean as a sinner-turned-saint angle more than the last film. Somehow, I kinda missed the wholesome but intimate moments of the old Valjean-Fantine love team of the older film version. Uma Thurman made for a more motherly Fantine but Hathaway was just this lovelorn and abandoned teenage mother.
This 2012 remake made me sigh. I know they’re both in heaven in the end with the bishop. But I was hoping they could have had at least a single dinner date or something. They only had bonding moments during Valjean and Fantine’s deathly hallucinatory phases. And they had a nun and a bishop with them then. On the up side, the 2012 film was able to catch Victor Hugo’s nuances especially in the finale.
Having said all that, I still have loads of thoughts about the film but I agree with Valjean that some things are better left unsaid. (Suffice to say, I think I’ll go for something visually simpler/less emotional/much lighter to absorb like Blues Clues, ANTM, or Barney.)
Thanks for this one, though, Hollywood. I can’t wait for Hathaway’s Oscar speech and wow gown after this. (Made me feel so bad that she was verbally manhandled by Ricky Lo some weeks back. She really deserved queenly treatment with that kind of performance. Just my two cents.) 🙂