Before I begin, I'll make one important note: until today, I had never actually seen Les Mis. Not live; not online; not on DVD; not at all. This is shocking, I know, but what can I say? I am nothing if not fascinatingly full of surprises. I've heard (and heard, and heard, and heard) the music, and I have enough super-Les-Mis-fangirl friends to know the story pretty well. Essentially, though, I am a Les Mis newbie - and these are my thoughts.
Let's start with the hands-down best part of this movie: Gavroche. The. Best. Part. That adorable little revolutionary urchin may just be the cutest and most perfect thing upon which I have ever laid eyes. When he crawled up on that first carriage and started spouting out his sassy little song (a song whose words and tune I cannot remember, so which I am imagining as "Officer Krupke" sung to Javert), I immediately realized he was the best part of the film, and I have not changed my mind. Sorry, Anne Hathaway. Sorry, all the other 85 people who will win Oscars for this film. Team Gavroche 4eva.
Now that I've mentioned them, though, we might as well talk about the important people in the film. Hugh Jackman. You're perfect. Whatever. Go home, continue to be perfect, continue trying to cleanse yourself of the replicated human feces you had to crawl/swim through in the sewer scene. Ew. Anne Hathaway, I and everyone else in the world really wish you were in this movie more. Alas, though, bald woman, these are the occupational hazards of signing on for a movie with twenty-five different main characters and seven different plotlines. Russell Crowe, it would be great if you could just not sing again, maybe ever. You can go and live a wonderful life on some non-singing famous actor island where I trust Pierce Brosnan has been living ever since he tried to star in Mamma Mia. And while you're at it, stop walking on the edge of stuff so much! There has never in history been a grown man as interested in teetering on the edges of high-up structures as Javert is in this movie. You don't see perfect Gavroche walking on dangerous stuff like that, and he is a child. Take some notes.
I could obviously write an entire blog (not blog post, blog, as in dozens of posts) about the Thenardiers. I want to be Helena Bonham Carter. Sacha Baron Cohen is also flawless in this movie. Young Cosette did not appreciate how good she had it living with these two perfect humans. "Castle on a Cloud" - one of the worst songs ever - was cut mercifully short in this movie, but anyone living with Helena Bonham Carter has no right to sing any verses of that song at all. In the castle on a Domerberry cloud, Helena Bonham Carter is the lady "ohl in whyit." I sympathize with the plight of young Cosette, but like...come on.
Old Cosette, however, is another story. Dumb. I did not mind Amanda Seyfried in this, though my years of Mamma Mia watching did leave me concerned the whole time that she would spontaneously break out in a rousing chorus of "Honey, Honey." As a character, though, I cannot bring myself to like old Cosette. She's rich. She falls in love with a guy after seeing him for a total of maybe 7 seconds, which somehow no one has ever told her is a horribly misguided idea. And worst of all, she completely ruins everything for poor, friend-zoned, tiny-waisted Eponine. In the immortal words of Amanda Seyfried's most important character, "That's not right, is it?" No, Karen. That is so not right.
Old Eponine, on the other hand, I felt a bit more sorry for. By the end, I think (in a manner completely uninfluenced, I'm sure, by my extreme disinterest in "A Little Fall of Rain") she's gone a bit too far on the route to Crazytown. Homeboy is not interested in you, and there comes a time to move past that fact, my inhumanly skinny friend. But for most of the movie, I feel terribly bad for her. I want to be her friend - partially because she obviously needs one, but also mostly because she seems sort of interestingly ethnic and kind of sings with a sassy little somethin' going on. I know she's played by the impossibly-dimensioned Samantha Barks, but I like to pretend she's played by JoJo. Oh, and have I mentioned she's really freaking skinny?
And finally, there are the revolutionaries. I'm not really sure where to start with them. So many feelings. So many thoughts. I've been pondering this pretty extensively since the revolutionaries first walked on screen today, and I've decided that, in my ideal vision of this film, Aaron Tveit actually just plays both Enjolras and Marius. They give him two separate haircuts, put him in two separate costumes, and give him two separate halves of a picture of Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, just to complete the Parent Trap effect. Mostly, this is because I find it completely improbable that anyone would ever fall for weird-looking Eddie Redmayne when Aaron Tveit is even in the same zip code. Don't get me wrong; this Eddie Redmayne guy did a great job. I just wish that poor, beautiful Aaron Tveit got a love story.
So let's put it another way: in a really, really perfect version of Les Mis, it is actually Enjolras and Eponine who, out of mutual realization that they will never be Marius' #1, fall madly and conveniently in love and who end up living happily ever after. And then they adopt Gavroche. And the four of us all go to dinner together a lot. Cool.
Anyway, all in all, this movie was awfully close to perfect. I did not cry, but I did walk out of the theater with a slight limp from the absolute beatdown the movie gave me with all twenty thousand of its heart-wrenching tragic plot twists. Have I seen better performances of "Stars" from high school students than I did today from Russell Crowe? I mean, maybe. And do I really, really think Samantha Barks needs to go eat a sandwich? Yes. But that was pretty darn awesome. If, at any point during the rest of Christmas break, you need to find me, I will probably be at the movie theater watching Les Mis again.
Oh, and just because why not:
Grumpy Cat Fo Eva