Sunday, 13 January 2013

Les Miserables (2012)

The time is now! The day is here! 

I have been looking forward to this film for so long! The stage version of Les Miserables is my favourite musical of all time and the Victor Hugo novel is one of my favourite books of all time; so my mood was of cautiously excited optimism when it was first announced that a film adaptation would be made. I love Les Mis of course but Phantom of the Opera - my second favourite musical - got a mostly rubbish adaptation in the 2004 film. Sweeney Todd is another favourite musical of mine and its film adaptation wasn't bad but the stage version is so much better. My excitement did get considerably stronger when Tom Hooper was announced as the director of Les Mis because I loved The King's Speech. And then I got even more excited with every cast member that was announced. OK, there was a big drop in excitement when it was announced from many websites that Taylor Swift was playing Eponine but balance was restored when it was announced that Samantha Barks had got the role instead. And at long last I've finally seen this film - twice! I saw it last night with two friends and tonight with my mum because she wanted someone to go to the cinema with.

So what do I think? Well, before I go into that I'm just going to explain something. This film is not the best sung version of Les Mis that you will ever hear. Both the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts feature better all-round singing and you shouldn't expect the exact same kind of singing that you get in the live stage version. The film is different to the stage version in that that there's much more of an emphasis on acting rather than perfect singing. The singing is softer and there isn't as much belting. Even the actors in this film who come from a stage background adopt this kind of singing. If I heard singing like this at the Queen's Theatre then I would probably think the cast was mediocre. But this film isn't a stage production and cinema is a very different medium to theatre. The difference between theatre and cinema isn't as big as the difference between literature and cinema but they're still very different mediums. What works on stage won't always work on film and vice versa. The singing in this film might not be of the same standard that you get in the stage version but fans shouldn't worry because most of the cast still have great voices and everyone can sing. The standard of singing in this film is far better than the standard of singing in the Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd films! The live singing also worked brilliantly, especially during the more emotional scenes. I hope this approach becomes normal for musical movies in the future.

The film is mostly very faithful to the stage musical but there are some changes and it isn't an exact replica of it. The stage version is a completely sung-through musical but there is some added dialogue in this film; not much though, just the odd spoken line every now and again. There are some new lyrics in places and some songs have been moved around. I Dreamed a Dream, Stars and On My Own are sung in different places to the stage version, and the Red and Black/Do You Hear the People Sing? songs are split up so Do You Hear the People Sing? now comes after One Day More. Thenardier's solo song Dog Eat Dog is the only song from the stage version that is completely absent in this film but other songs are shortened. There were also lots of extra details that were drawn directly from the book which I'll get on to later. For now I'll give my opinions on the cast....

Jean Valjean - Hugh Jackman
I really loved Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean and there isn't any other actor in Hollywood that I can imagine doing the role as well. His acting was brilliant. He gave a very moving performance and he clearly understood the character. Compassion, goodness and love practically exuded from his every pore! I don't think I've ever wanted to hug Valjean as much as I did when watching this film - and no it wasn't just because he's the hottest Valjean I've ever seen! I do have two minor criticisms I must admit. Firstly - through no fault of Jackman's - I wasn't really buying him as a 60-something until his death scene. I wish they'd aged him up more convincingly for the Paris scenes with Adult Cosette. Secondly, I did find his version of Bring Him Home underwhelming. Bring Him Home is one of my favourite songs from Les Mis. I know it's off-canon and I know that Valjean actually hated Marius at this point in the book - but I don't even care. The melody is just too beautiful for me not to love it! But Jackman sounded shouty when he sang it and it seemed like he was struggling with it. However, I would never trade the rest of Hugh Jackman's excellent performance just for the sake of that one song. Jackman's versions of Valjean's Soliloquy and Who Am I? were excellent and his acting in Valjean's death scene was beautifully done. I'm really pleased that he's won Oscar and BAFTA nominations for his performance in this film because he really deserves it. I thought the new song Suddenly that Valjean gets in the film was a nice touch too. One of the common criticisms of the stage musical is that you don't get much of a sense of just how much Valjean loves Cosette and how much she means to him. I thought Suddenly helped to convey that better even though I didn't actually like the tune very much. The song itself is actually pretty boring and unmemorable and I hope it doesn't get put in the stage version. It's too intimate. I don't think Suddenly will be winning the Oscar for Best Song. I think Adele will be winning that one for Skyfall.

Javert - Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe has really divided Les Mis fans with his performance in this film. Some loved him as Javert, others hated him. As for myself, well, I didn't HATE him but he was easily my least favourite out of the main cast. I can see why Tom Hooper cast him though. Crowe isn't too good-looking to play Javert and he is physically imposing. Crowe had some really good moments too I thought. I liked his acting in the scene where Javert asks Monsieur Madeleine to sack him for "mistakenly" reporting him as Jean Valjean. I was really pleased that they added in that scene from that book. I liked Crowe in the Prologue too and I was especially entertained by his Confrontation scene with Jean Valjean. That was a seriously badass scene! I think Hugh Jackman brought out the best in Crowe actually. But in other places... see I knew when I went into the film that I shouldn't Crowe to be vocally amazing. I knew he certainly wasn't going to equal Philip Quast and Crowe's singing wasn't brilliant in the film. He didn't sing as well as everyone else. His singing wasn't horrible though and he's no Pierce Brosnan. It was actually Crowe's acting that I had more of an issue with. For example, there's the scene where Gavroche tells Enjolras and the students that Javert is actually a police inspector who's spying on them. Crowe's Javert is obviously furious and he tries to fight the students and make a run for it. He's too emotional. Yet funnily enough, I felt barely any emotion coming from him at all in Javert's Suicide. He was much too subdued and restrained. Yes, I know that Javert doesn't show his emotions very easily but he does still have them! When I saw the stage version of Les Mis again fairly recently I was really tense when I saw this scene and I really cared about Javert. But I found the Javert's Suicide scene in this film much less powerful and moving. Crowe was emotional when Javert should be calm and stoical and calm and stoical when he should be emotional! What's up with that?! I don't want to be too harsh though because some performances ruin films and Crowe's performance definitely didn't. Like I say, Crowe did have some have really good moments and my two friends and mum really liked him (my mum fancies Crowe though so I think that may have played a part!) I don't think Russell Crowe is by any means terrible in this film. It's just that I didn't think he was fantastic.

Fantine - Anne Hathaway
Wow! Anne Hathaway is absolutely magnificent in this film and she gives a flawless performance. Out of all of the actors in this film, Anne Hathaway has received the most critical acclaim and media attention and now I've seen her I can completely understand why. She thoroughly deserves all of the praise she's won. It's not that no-one else gives a great performance in the film. That's not the case at all! It's just that Anne Hathaway is the best singer out of the big-name Hollywood actors and also because Fantine's story is just so desperately sad and heartbreaking. Moving the I Dreamed a Dream song around really was a brilliant decision. In the stage version Fantine sings the song after she's been sacked from the factory and before she becomes a prostitute. But in this film the song has been moved back to its original position on the French concept album and Fantine now sings it after she's become a prostitute. Again, this was a brilliant move! It makes the song even more tragic than it already is, and it actually makes more sense in this position because this is when Fantine is at her lowest ebb. Hathaway's version of I Dreamed a Dream is beautifully acted and sung and it's an incredibly powerful scene. She strikes exactly the right balance between singing softly and belting, and how she was able to sing so well with tears streaming down her face I'll never know. Hathaway is brilliant in all of her scenes too. She has a beautiful voice and I'm even more annoyed that she didn't get the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera now! Hathaway is incredible in Les Mis. She throws herself into the role with total commitment. She even had her hair cut off for real and lost 25 pounds for the role. If Hathaway doesn't win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress I'll be shocked and appalled!

Young Cosette - Isabelle Allen
She was so cute! She was adorable, her version of Castle on a Cloud was lovely and she really did look like she could be a younger version of Amanda Seyfried. Some excellent casting went on here! You get to see more of Young Cosette in this film than you do in the stage version as well and that was really nice. You see her briefly in Come to Me, she's sleeping on Valjean's lap in Suddenly, and you see her when she and Valjean are being chased by Javert in Paris. I hope I'll get to see Isabelle Allen in other things and I do love the fact that it's her face that's on the official posters. It really ties-in with the iconic Emile Bayard illustrations that the stage musical utilised.

The Thenardiers - Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter
I really enjoyed them especially Helena Bonham Carter. She was so much better at playing Madame Thenardier than she was at playing Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd! She was very funny, she was more flamboyant than she was in Sweeney Todd, she was conniving and she was a little bit creepy. She still isn't a very strong singer of course but that really didn't matter. The role of Madame Thenardier doesn't require a strong singer. Sacha Baron Cohen was great too. He's a really funny guy and some of his lines felt improvised. He's also a pretty good singer and his Master of the House was hilarious and very entertaining. I loved it when he called Young Cosette "Courgette"! I've read that he was the second choice for the role. Geoffrey Rush was offered the role first apparently but he turned the role down because he thought he'd be too old. Although I am intrigued as to whether Geoffrey Rush would have been better at playing Thenardier than Javert I definitely think Sacha Baron Cohen was the better choice for the role. I think he could have done with being a bit more menacing in Attack at Rue Plumet admittedly but because I found him so hilarious in general I'm perfectly willing to let that go. He and Helena Bonham Carter definitely brought in the comic relief that this film needed. I was really pleased whenever they showed up, unlike their book counterparts whom I hate.

Gavroche - Daniel Huttlestone
This kid was fantastic! He was very cute but he still looked tough enough to play Gavroche and you could buy him as a Parisian street urchin. He had a great voice, his acting was terrific, he wasn't at all annoying, and he had some brilliant interactions with the adult actors. In this film it's now Gavroche who delivers Marius's letter to Cosette - just like in the book - and Huttlestone's scene with Hugh Jackman was an especially nice bit of comic relief. Like Isabelle Allen, I really hope I'll get to see Daniel Huttlestone in other things because he's clearly a great child actor and he's fantastic in this film. I loved him. You could tell that the film-makers obviously loved him as well because Gavroche got a lot more screentime than he usually gets on stage.

Marius - Eddie Redmayne
I watched an ITV documentary on the film recently and there was a scene where Eddie Redmayne was being interviewed by Michael Ball. They had a good laugh about Musical Marius being a drip, and then Redmayne said that both he and Tom Hooper wanted to make Marius's character in the film closer to the Marius of Victor Hugo's book. They definitely did! Redmayne was brilliant in this film and his Marius was everything I'd want from a screen Marius. His acting was brilliant and he clearly understood the character. His Marius was very likeable. I think Redmayne did a really good job of conveying Marius's shy, socially awkward side in A Heart Full of Love. I loved his adorable little stutter! But Marius's badass side comes through in this film as well. He rides a horse, he stabs a man with a freakin' sword, and he saves the Barricade by threatening to blow it up with dynamite - just like in the book! Awesome! I don't know why they had one of the students act angry about this though because in the book they were all really pleased : S I really loved that we got to see Marius's grandfather in this film as well. Sure Monsieur Gillenormand only gets a few lines but nevertheless it was still really nice to see him. I think all of these things helped to give Marius some much-needed depth and strength as a character. Marius is a pretty bland character in the stage version but he's far more interesting in Victor Hugo's book - in that he's actually one of my favourite characters. I was so pleased that they made Marius more book-like in this film! Also, Eddie Redmayne had great chemistry with both Amanda Seyfried and Samantha Barks. He's a great singer too! He has a beautiful, classical-sounding tenor voice and he could actually hold his own against Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit. This was very important because you could tell that these actors were professional singers. I think Redmayne could be one too. I think - if he wanted to - that he could have his pick of West End singing roles after his performance in this film. He has a fantastic voice. And I haven't even mentioned Empty Chairs at Empty Tables yet! It's one of my favourite songs in the musical anyway but Redmayne's version of that song was wonderful and heartbreaking. Even without the ghosts of the students it's still an extremely powerful scene. Again, how he and Anne Hathaway were able to sing their big solos with tears streaming down their faces I'll never know! And they sang them so well too! Redmayne definitely gave one of my favourite performances in this film and his Marius is now my favourite. He looks absolutely nothing like Book Marius of course but neither does Michael Ball and I still love him in the 10th anniversary concert. Funnily enough the guy who played Grantaire in this film - George Blagden - actually looked a lot more like Book Marius. He had dark curly hair and he was really good-looking! Redmayne is still really attractive though. Admittedly he's more striking than conventionally handsome so I can sort of understand why he wouldn't be to everyone's taste. One friend didn't find him attractive at all. I think he's flipping gorgeous though!

Cosette - Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried is beautiful and - despite the fact that she's a blonde and not a brunette - she definitely looks the part. She's beautiful in a very doll-like, slightly angelic way. Even though Samantha Barks's Eponine is stunning you could see why Marius found Seyfried's Cosette more so. I really enjoyed Amanda Seyfried's performance in this film. I'd heard some bad things about her singing before I went into the film. I thought Amanda Seyfried would be really good in this film initially because she sang really well in Mamma Mia! She was about the only actor in that film who did! I was also pretty impressed with her voice in that brief promotional featurette they released ages ago. But I heard some negative comments about Amanda Seyfried's voice before I went into this film and I was beginning to think that maybe she wouldn't be so good after all. But, no, she was really good. I actually really liked her voice. Yes she did sound a bit wispy at times and I've definitely heard better-sung Cosettes from the stage version, but her voice still sounded lovely and was perfectly fine for a movie musical. I was impressed that she was able to hit Cosette's high notes as well as she did and I think she'd have made a really good Johanna in the Sweeney Todd film. I really enjoyed her acting too. She had really good chemistry with both Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Jackman. She and Eddie Redmayne made for a really cute couple, and Cosette's relationship with Valjean was very well-done and believable in the film. Seyfried's acting at Valjean's death scene in particular was lovely and moving. I really liked Amanda Seyfried in this film and I thought she did an excellent job. Her Cosette wasn't a whiny, ungrateful brat that you wanted to slap like the Cosette of the 1998 film. Her Cosette wasn't nauseatingly sweet and passive like some of the stage Cosettes are. Seyfried's Cosette was sweet but not sickeningly so and she did come across as pretty likeable. I especially liked an added scene that they put in this film. After Valjean confesses his past to Valjean and leaves there's a new scene that's almost like a reprisal of Every Day. Cosette is upset and hurt that Valjean has left and now Marius is the one who's saying "Don't worry, it will all be OK. I still love you and I'll always be there for you". I thought this was a lovely touch and it made Cosette more sympathetic and endearing. Cosette's character is quite bland in the stage version and, to be honest, she's still a bit bland in this film. However she's much less so and this film really respects her character.

Eponine - Samantha Barks
Samantha Barks is the only adult actor from the main cast who has actually been in the stage version of Les Mis before. She played the role of Eponine for a year at the Queen's Theatre, London and she also took part in the 25th anniversary concert at the O2 Arena. Unsurprisingly Barks's singing voice is excellent in this film! Anyone who comes into this film who's also seen Barks play Eponine live - as I have 
: ) - will know that her singing isn't quite the same in this film. Her singing is softer and she tones down the belting somewhat. Her voice is still beautiful though and her renditions of On My Own and A Little Fall of Rain are beautiful. She's one of the film's strongest singers and you can tell she's a professional. Barks's acting was great too. She had screen presence and she's clearly improved from the 25th anniversary concert. She never plays Eponine as being the mentally unstable character of the book but there's more of a toughness about her. Barks had genuine chemistry with Eddie Redmayne as well, but at the same time her Eponine and Redmayne's Marius weren't too matey with each other and I really appreciated that. Their characters are closer than they are in Hugo's book but there was still some distance between them and they're obviously not best friends, which is how some actors portray their relationship in the stage version. Barks doesn't overact in the film either and I think she does a brilliant job. I loved Samantha Barks's performance in this film. Thank God we got to see her as Eponine in this film and not Taylor Swift! That would have been horrible! I'm quite intrigued as to what Samantha Barks will do next. Will she go back to the West End or will she want to do more films? Because I think she has the potential to be a big film star. She has a beautiful, powerful singing voice. She can act. She's stunning. If Wicked gets turned into a film within the next few years I'm absolutely convinced that she'd be considered for the role of Elphaba. I think she'd be fantastic! 

Enjolras - Aaron Tveit
I loved Aaron Tveit in this film! His singing voice isn't as booming and powerful as you'd expect from an Enjolras but he still sounded excellent and you could tell that he was a Broadway singer. I loved his voice. I also appreciated the fact that he looked tough enough to play the character and that he was a very attractive blonde : ) I really liked Tveit's acting too. He had charisma and a quiet dignity about him which is very much like Book Enjolras. The Enjolras of this film is the most book-accurate portrayal I've ever seen! Tveit doesn't get as much of a chance to shine as the other actors in the main cast though sadly. This is because some of Enjolras's solo lines in Red and Black and Do You Hear the People Sing? are turned into ensemble lines that all of the students sing. Enjolras doesn't interact with Grantaire very much in this film either, apart from a few odd glances every now and again and their death scene. That was a bit of a shame. I know from reading the script that there were some more interactions between them but they must have got left on the cutting room floor. Maybe we'll get this in deleted scenes on the DVD bonus features or in that rumoured extended edition DVD.....? Fingers crossed!

The Ensemble - I really loved the fact that a lot of West End stars made cameo appearances in this film. It was such a nice thrill whenever I recognised someone. I spotted Frances Ruffelle (the original Eponine) and Nancy Sullivan playing prostitutes in Lovely Ladies. Bertie Carvel played Bamatabois in Fantine's Arrest. Killian Donnelly and Fra Fee played revolutionary students. Fra Fee played Courfeyrac and he actually got a fair bit of screentime because Courfeyrac got the relationship with Gavroche in the film that Grantaire usually gets with him in the stage version. I loved seeing Gina Beck as a random woman in Turning and Hadley Fraser - who was sporting a very impressive moustache! - as the Army Officer. My favourite West End cameo though came from Colm Wilkinson. He originated the role of Jean Valjean on the West End and Broadway and got to play the character again for the 10th anniversary concert. He played the Bishop in this film and he gave an excellent performance. Even though he's 68 now he's still a great voice and he hit the Bishop's low notes much better than I thought he would. His acting was great and I loved that we got to see him at Valjean's death scene too! It made so much more sense for the Bishop to be there instead of Eponine! Why would Eponine appear at Valjean's death scene anyway?! Valjean never even speaks to her in the book, and in the stage musical Eponine is disguised as a boy when she hands him Marius's letter to Cosette. I doubt Valjean would have even recognised her when she appeared as a girl!

I did feel sorry for George Blagden in this film though. I did really love his Grantaire but Blagden still doesn't get all that much screentime in this film. I was gutted that they took out Grantaire's solo verse in Drink With Me as well. It's my favourite part in the whole song and I would have much rather had them cut out Marius's verse instead! Also Blagden has a gorgeous voice -  please check out this link: https://soundcloud.com/george-blagden/giants-in-the-sky. And by not having the Drink With Me verse we don't get to see much tension between Grantaire and Enjolras. Grantaire's death scene with Enjolras wasn't as moving as I'd hoped it would be and I think it's because their relationship wasn't really touched on. The significance of the scene didn't come across.

Okay, I've covered the cast so I'll move on to other aspects of the film. Well, it certainly looked excellent and the production values were top-notch. It had a very authentically gritty look and feel. You see haggard-looking prostitutes and beggars with bad skin. You get a bloody but not too gory battle and some disturbingly realistic-looking sewage! Hooper really made the most of the cinematic medium too. The film is shot really well and Hooper made use of things that simply can't be done in the theatre. There are tracking shots and some big panorama shots. The opening scene with Valjean and the other convicts towing the ship in the water looked terrific as did the final scene with the massive barricade. You get a lot of close-ups of the actor's faces in this film as well. This was great because unless you're sitting very close to the front you simply can't see the expressions on the actor's faces in that much detail at the theatre. The close-ups really added to the emotion of the film. The sound mixing and editing was brilliant in this film too. I could clearly hear every single word that the actors were singing and the One Day More scene was brilliantly edited. It was amazing to watch!

I was of course thrilled by the added-in book details in this film too! Although the film is clearly based directly on the stage musical rather than the book itself, it still draws a lot of inspiration from Victor Hugo's novel. A lot of things from the book that aren't in the stage version have been included in this film. I really admire Tom Hooper for that because he could have simply decided to just make a faithful adaptation of the stage musical and no-one would have really complained. But he decided to go above and beyond the call of duty by including extra details drawn from the book and I loved that. The stage musical is already very faithful to the book anyway in my opinion, and because of the extra book details this film is now the most accurate adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel I've ever seen! I've already mentioned a few added-in book details already but there are lots of others that I haven't mentioned yet. Fantine sells her teeth in this film. Bamatabois shoves snow down Fantine's dress. Valjean isn't imprisoned on the Orion in this film but the way he escapes from Javert in The Confrontation was clearly a reference to how he escapes from the ship in the book. Valjean takes Young Cosette away from the Thenardiers' Inn at Christmas time and he buys her a doll. Valjean and Young Cosette sneak into the convent to hide from Javert and meet Fauchelevant. Gavroche's elephant is in this film. Eponine hides Cosette's letter to Marius. You see the Cafe Musain. The students gatecrash General Lamarque's funeral. Eponine saves Marius's life by taking a bullet for him. Valjean actually feels upset and threatened by Marius when he finds out that Cosette is in love with him (although he certainly gets over it much more quickly). Enjolras and Grantaire get shot by a firing squad like they do in the book. And there was an obvious reference to Thenardier "saving" the life of Marius's father in the sewer scene. Yay for these extra book details!

In fact the film does actually improve upon the stage musical in many ways. There are the extra book details for one thing and Cosette and Marius's characters are much better developed. There was also more historical backstory so I think newcomers to the film would have a slightly easier time understanding what was going on than someone going to see the stage version for the first time. For example: Gavroche got a great new verse in Look Down about how France got rid of the king and now there's a new king who's no better. It was also mentioned at one point that there are more Barricades in Paris than just the one that we see, that it's not just 20 odd students fighting the whole French army. The runaway cart scene is much better done in this film than it's done on stage as well; we didn't get someone shouting "Look out, it's a runaway cart!" and awkward slow motion. Also, in the Prologue scene Javert asks Valjean to perform a feat of strength so you know what Javert is thinking of when Valjean saves Fauchelevant. I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own and Do You Hear the People Sing? all made more sense in their new positions. I was very happy that Turning was cut down considerably. Those inaccurate lyrics about the students being silly, naive schoolboys who had never held guns before and didn't really know what they were doing were completely gone. I liked that the Thenardiers didn't even get any pity money from Marius at the wedding scene. After Marius punches Thenardier they're forcibly evicted. Their singing is defiant then rather than celebratory and I found that funnier. I preferred the ending as well. There's a massive barricade in Heaven with all of the characters who died singing. It's even more beautiful, uplifting and inspiring than the ending in the stage musical!

Is this film perfect? No, I don't think it is. I've pointed out a few flaws already but there are others. I thought that showing Fantine having sex between Lovely Ladies and I Dreamed a Dream was unnecessary but thankfully it was a very short scene. Also, some of the cuts that they made in this film were jarring and disappointed me. I understand that some cuts had to be made of course, and that they did need to make room for the extra book details, but I was still disappointed with some of them. I was sad that they took out Eponine's opening lines in On My Own - "And now I'm all alone again..." - because I've always loved these lines and it felt quite weird to have the song simply start with "On my own". They also took out my favourite lyrics from A Little Fall of Rain: "I'll sleep in your embrace at last/The rain that brings you here is heaven-blessed/The skies begin to clear and I'm at rest". I love these lyrics! I've already mentioned that Grantaire's verse being taken out of Drink With Me made me sad. Attack at Rue Plumet was cut to pieces and it started with "Who is this hussy?" rather than "This is his lair/I've seen the old fox around". That was another cut that felt really weird. Also, I've never really been a huge fan of Dog Eat Dog but it would have still been nice to have seen it all the same. The song shows the sinister, evil side of Thenardier's character. I'm hoping that there will be an extended edition DVD release of the film. There's an online fan petition for one - which I've signed - and Tom Hooper has mentioned that they shot a whole 4 hours worth of material for the film. He's said that he'd only consider putting 15 or 20 minutes back in though. As for me I'd at least like the extended edition to include Dog Eat Dog, more Enjolras and Grantaire scenes, and longer versions of Attack at Rue PlumetOn My Own and A Little Fall of Rain - just to make the film that little bit better.

However, this film is still amazing and beautiful and wonderful and it lived up to my expectations! Even though I've only seen it twice I can now say that it's one of my favourite films of all time and I'll definitely be buying it on DVD! Now I love the book, the stage version and the film! The film is a brilliant combination between the book and the stage musical and Tom Hooper clearly respected, understood and loved them both. I'll be forever grateful to him for directing this film. The film may not be perfect or flawless and I'm sure that they'll be times in the future when I'll want to watch this film on DVD and other times when I'll fancy watching my beloved 10th anniversary concert instead, on those occasions when I'll want belting and more powerful vocals and Philip Quast's Javert. But I loved the vast majority of the cast in this film and it gets so, so, so much right that it feels almost wrong to nitpick it. Things could have gone so badly wrong in this film! There could have been terrible casting, a script that removed lots of the songs, stupid changes for no good reason, bad orchestrations, autotuning... but that didn't happen. I absolutely adored this film and my friends and mum loved it too. The reviews I've read from fans have been mostly extremely positive and it seems that the general public has responded really well to this film as well.  I know people who haven't read the book and haven't seen the stage version that still loved this film. I'm so happy : )

Rating: 5/5

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