It is important to say, that I did not know this story. I had a couple of spoilers, mostly about the love triangle, but otherwise the complexity of the characters and the actual storyline was a complete mystery to me. And with my exams and all I had to be very strong in making sure nothing spoiled it for me! My sister was also interested in seeing, whether or not I would be moved... well, I cried, several times!
Now, a critique in the make-up department. In many adaptations we have Fantine with brown hair, and in the book she is blonde, or more precisely golden. This is one of the features she shares with Cosette. Now, making her a brunette in the movie only made me more curios about Cosette's father... There is no resemblance whatsoever between the two characters and after Fantine's death, I couldn't care less about her background, you lost me again movie(!), I wanted to know more about the dad. Now, the book goes into details, but this is one of those small things that help the viewer connect characters and story lines.
Biggest missing element is exactly the thing that movies like Harry Potter and comic based series are blamed for: You need to make something for an audience that might have not read the book/comic it is based on and still be able to enjoy it! This movie is solely for those who have seen the musical! And that audience, for the criticism the movie received in the casting department as far as singing goes, will not like it!
The first scene that touched me was Éponine's death. (Yes, she dies too!) I think there is something about her love to Marius that everyone can relate to. She stops a soldier from shooting him, and she takes the bullet herself. Marius, after finally understanding how she feels, holds her in his arms until her last breath. The scenery and the use of rain in this scene is really award worth! Next good point is Anne Hathaway, whom was proven herself over the past year, and guess what? She can even sing! She delivered very well. The only reason why Fantine's death didn't touch me was that I couldn't believe it. I was told that the deaths are almost 'Hamlet-like', still, I just kept thinking: she has been here for 30 minutes and she has won every award she has been nominated for so far... WOW!
So, let us conclude. Is it a good movie? Without a doubt. If you like musicals, or any of these actors, then you should definitely check it out! Another reason why I'm glad that it got made, is that Jackman is such a great actor, and yet nobody seems to acknowledge his talents, only because he usually doesn't play in movies that head to the oscars... I am glad that he is finally getting some recognition! At the end of the day I feel that bringing something to the big screen gives opportunity for so much more that the director didn't use and it is such a shame! You might argue, that there wasn't enough time, but then check out a movie like Evita: It has montage scenes and plenty of information is crammed into 90 minutes (!), and it told us more then this movie did. We know the songs, we know who is singing, show us more! Show us more! SHOW US MORE!
If you're looking to impress a lady and console her in your arms, make sure you see this in the theater, but beside a couple of scenes, and literally a couple, this is perfect for a rental! Hang in there, it is almost out!
Coming up next, another FRESH FROM THE THEATRE, afterwards we'll crack The Hunger Games! Stay tuned!