Les Misérables ★★½

Fuck Tom Hooper and the horse shot in close-up he rode in on. I will not forgive or forget. I'll be Javert to his Valjean...except for the whole throwing myself off a bridge thing.

I love Les Mis. My problem isn't with Les Mis. My problem is with Hooper. He really couldn't have done a worse job if he tried. I didn't hate it, but this should have been SO much better. I mean seriously, the whole movie is in goddamn closeup. Hooper didn't even come close to using the advantages & possibilities of the medium. I thought the production design left a lot to be desired. Too many spots and songs were low-key when they should have had a little more oomph behind them. And for me, the blame lands squarely on Hooper.

Some shots are perfectly good and a few are even beautiful. But boy are they few and far between. Hooper got to do what he wanted after The King's Speech and he obviously had a lot of freedom. Perhaps it was too much. I just can't get over HOW MANY FREAKING CLOSE-UPS THERE ARE. It's surreal.

Plus, some serious miscasting. Really disappointed w/ Jackman's Valjean. Seyfried and Redmayne are bland. Crowe isn't as bad as everyone makes fun of, but he's just over-matched. He doesn't have the voice to pull it off, but he tries. Hathaway is alright, but her [overacting] performance is overrated. Barks is the best thing, but of course she plays second fiddle in and out of the movie to her bigger name co-stars.

As for the non-dubbed singing. I think it was a mistake. it does no favors for Jackman and Crowe (the latter in particular could have used some studio-enhanced help). Plus, these are big, beautiful, DIFFICULT songs to sing. This is practically opera and unfortunately, this feels undersung a lot of the time, or we're forced to watch unqualified people straining to hit notes IN SUPER DUPER CLOSE-UP. Also, being told to "act" out their musical numbers seemed to give the cast carte blanche to all give wildly different and overacted (or underacted) performances.

Basically, the fact that it's Les Mis and has the music it has in it makes it watchable. Hooper, his cast and crew do their best to bring it down as much as possible. It's a shame.

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