From Book To Film: Les Miserables - Does The Film Live Up To The Musical?

The Main Cast

Awkward Moments In Film - Les MiserablesJavert--Russell Crowe brings the gravitas that I so admired in Geoffrey Rush's Javert. It must be a monumentally difficult role to do justice to. The most common issue that I hear is with his singing voice. I personally think that he does a great job, though his voice sounds best when he drops everything an octave. You can hear this when Valjean asks to take care of "The spy Javert" and the man in question scoffs, "You've hungered for this all your life. Take your revenge; how right you should kill with a knife." Why I love the character: Javert talks through the whole film about God's justice and God's laws. He seems to be this devoutly Christian guy. But the line that gives him away is from "Stars:" "And so it has been for so it is written on the doorway to Paradise that those who stumble and those who fall must pay the price." What? Um...no. Javert claims to be this religious guy, but he doesn't get the religion he claims to practice at all. And that's part of his reasons for committing suicide. Les Miserables Hugh JackmanJean Valjean--I was only previously familiar with Hugh Jackman's singing career through his award-winning role in The Boy From Oz. I had heard the soundtrack, so I knew he had what my friend calls "a heck of a set of pipes." His style is no what I would have imagined for Jean Valjean, though. I was impressed with everything but "Bring Him Home," where he just sounds uncomfortable for the entire song. His acting was, however, superb. It's not easy to sing with a camera up your nose for half the film. Why I love the character: Unlike Javert, Valjean is a reformed sinner who grasps the idea of mercy so completely that he extends it to everyone in his life. This applies to Fantine and Javert alike. After so many years on the run, he tells Javert, "You are free and there are no conditions, no bargains or petitions. There's nothing that I blame you for--you've done your duty nothing more." Les Miserables - Anne HathawayFantine--I saw Les Miserables at 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Day with my two fan roommates. We forced ourselves not to sing along, but we definitely air-bowed along with the orchestra. We were in the third row of a packed theater, next to a woman who very thoughtfully passed me Kleenex when I couldn't stop crying through "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." But the most spontaneous reaction that I had to the film was during "I Dreamed A Dream." I know Anne's singing voice from Ella Enchanted and the Oscars and she's got a lovely mezzo-soprano voice. She hit the low g-flat that none of my soprano friends can do justice and I literally clapped for joy. Same with her low e in the epilogue. Yes, I am an alto nerd who gets excited by properly-sung bass clef notes. Why I love this character: Fantine and Valjean are so well matched because they are both victims of circumstance. They both proceed in life with pure intentions (He wants to save his family and she wants to save her daughter), but "come to grief" as a result of the means that they employ. She accepts the mercy that the mayor offers before recognizing that he is answering to a higher sense of justice and it's not man's mercy that she is accepting at all. Amanda Seyfried Les MiserablesCosette--I am not an Amanda Seyfried fan. She was funny in Mean Girls. She was appropriately cast in Mamma Mia. She does a lovely rendition of most of Cosette's songs, but her high notes are as uncomfortable to listen to as they come and she kind of strangles them off at the end. I do like her normal range's style because someone pointed out to me that she sounds like a lark and that is the nickname for Cosette in the book. Why I love this character: Cosette is a character who reserves very little judgment for anyone. While she is despitefully used by the Thenardiers, she doesn't act out against them as a child. She doesn't hold Marius' apparent humble circumstances. She is frustrated by her father's secrets, but she doesn't despise him for them. Eponine Les MieEponine-- Samantha Barks is obviously no stranger to this role. She did a great job transferring her stage performance to the screen. I do wish that they had kept in more of her music because Eponine's friendship with Marius was downplayed. In the musical, it is by chasing after Eponine that Marius runs into Cosette, so his blind gratitude to Eponine for getting them together doesn't make all that much sense in the movie. She managed to do "A Little Fall of Rain" without the almost-requisite melodrama that makes me snigger. Why I love this character: Eponine is one of those characters in literature who I wish something GOOD would happen to some time. While she is not as mistreated by her parents as another character who we will discuss later, she is used by them. Marius uses her in a different way, to be his bridge to Cosette. She loves the man who sees her as both a friend and a FedEx driver enough that she sacrifices herself for him. Eddie ReymayneMarius--Eddie Tremayne is a god. That is all. No, okay, I'll say that I didn't expect to like him very much because I had only seen him as an impulsive and naive young man in The Good Shepherd. He grew up and his interpretation of the lovesick student who puts his cause first and nearly dies for it is fantastic. His voice makes me a little hot under the collar, too, but like I said, I couldn't stop crying through "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." Why I love this character: I'll get to why I don't like him later on, but he is a man with pure intentions that turn against him for a time. I think that could be said of most of Hugo's characters--otherwise it wouldn't be a tragedy--but Marius is an idealist in his politics and in his love. While that may be a sign of his youth, it's a good trait.

Contributor
Contributor

That's Kaki pronounced like the pants, thank you very much, my family nickname and writing name. I am a Red Sox-loving, Doctor Who-quoting, Shaara-reading walking string quartet of a Mormon writer from Boston. I currently work 40 hours at a stressful desk job with a salary that lets me pick up and travel to places like Ireland or Philadelphia. I have no husband or kids, but I have five nephews to keep me entertained. When not writing, working or eating too much Indian food, I'm always looking for something new to learn, whether it's French or family history.

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