Love it or Hate it the new movie version of the smash-hit musical of Victor Hugo's classic French novel has certainly made an impression. So what are you? A Les Mis lover? A Les Mis Hater or a Les Mis In-Betweener? Riva/Kiss author Heidi Rice opens the discussion on the most talked about movie of 2013 (so far)
All right, already, I know this is the Must Watch Friday slot - and the slot brings with it a certain feel-good responsibility - but I came a bit unstuck with my offering this month. I had heard lots of great things about Les Misérables (rave reviews, strong word of mouth, award worthy, etc), I'm a big fan of Hugh Jackman and I've always had a secret fondness for bad boy Russell Crowe too. So I figured this movie would be a good bet for my monthly movie blog. Thus my husband and I headed off to our local multiplex with high hopes of a great night out on Wednesday evening... And I thought I'd be all set to do a glowing Must Watch Friday blog.
Unfortunately, my experience of this movie didn't quite work out that way. But I'm gonna blog about it anyway because:
1) It's a Must Watch movie for a lot of peeps (just ask Oscar voters) - and I hope some of its fans will give us some insight into why in the comments.
2) The only other movies I've seen recently fitted the bill even less: The Impossible was far too traumatic, Gangster Squad turned out to be shallow, overstylised, gratuitously violent, testosterone-overloaded crap (although Ryan Gosling does look mighty sexy in a zoot suit) and while I adored Seven Psychopaths it's not really a Pink Heart kinda deal.
3) Love it or hate it, Les Mis does still have Hugh Jackman in it!
So enough with the excuses. First off, I will say that the filmmakers got a lot of things right. The staging is suitably epic, the film looks amazing, the acting is impressively larger than life, the stars all sound great (even Russell Crowe - who has been unjustly vilified for his singing abilities IMHO) - and Anne Hathaway's rendition of I Dreamed a Dream - as the destitute and desperate prostitute Fantine - is a genuinely spine-tingling moment (eat your heart out, SuBo)... And hats off to the brave decision to have the actors sing the whole thing live!
But frankly that is where my admiration for this film ends... After two and a half hours of sing-talking (much of the musical score sounded very repetitive to me - and the libretto even more so) that felt like ten, being beaten over the head with the intense melodrama of Victor Hugo's story of poverty and redemption, love and death (a LOT of death), war and revolution set against the backdrop of post-Revolutionary France, I was ready to run screaming from the cinema... And not in a good way. And don't even get me started on the 'light relief' offered by Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen's pantomime villain inn-keepers....
But enough about me. Because obviously this is just my opinion. During the screening I went to there were some inappropriate laughs - particularly in the sewer scene - and yet also a rousing round of applause at the end. Clearly Les Miserables is a Marmite Movie.... So I'm opening this Must Watch Friday slot to a discussion. What did you think? Are you a died-in-the-wool devotee? Did you think it was more Emperor's New Clothes than Emotional Tour-de-force? Are you keen to give it a go? Or would you rather saw off your toes than pay for a ticket?
What does Les Misérables do for you? The Pink Heart Society wants to know.
Heidi's currently putting the finishing touches on her second book for Harlequin Kiss. Her first, Too Close for Comfort, will be out in May in the US, which is a linked book to her last Presents Extra One Night So Pregnant. And she is part of the cool Entangled anthology Baby It's Cold Outside with fellow authors Kate Hardy, Aimee Carson and Amy Andrews. For more info on her and her books check out her website, her FB page, or her blog.