And see it I did on Friday – and boy it did not disappoint. I loved every single second of it and blubbed like a baby – I would have been sobbing uncontrollably had it not been for the fact I was in a cinema and was trying to retain some semblance of composure. I will definitely be buying the DVD, then I can sit in the comfort of the house, safe in the knowledge no one is around and have a good old sob.
If anyone hasn’t ever seen the show, film or even heard of the show don’t read this paragraph! It’s not called The Glums for nothing – after all pretty much everyone dies, and yes a minor French Revolution might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s pretty much secondary to the main thread of the story which is basically about relationships between people. (I’ve got the novel by Victor Hugo, had it for years, just haven’t attempted to read it yet – it’s rather large!)
There have been some critics knocking some of the performances, but I have to say I didn’t think there was one weak link from the main stars right the way down to the ‘chorus’ – after all the show itself is an ensemble piece.
Russell Crowe was actually very good – he can hold a tune (which always helps in musicals) and although some would say he wasn’t as strong as the others, I would counter-act that argument to say that he made up for any weakness in terms of acting the song – and I did cry when his character died!
And the other surprise for me was Eddie Redmayne! The only thing I have ever seen him in was Birdsong on the television and I wasn’t that impressed – he seemed to just pout a lot and look pretty, and I couldn’t actually ever understand what he was saying as he mumbled his way through the script. However, he has a very powerful singing voice and totally blew me away.
There was one part in the movie that I defy anyone not to be moved at and that is after the battle and all the dead students are laid out, Russell Crowe’s character is walking along looking for Valjean and he stops at the little boy, ‘Gavroche’ (a little street urchin of about 10), who has been killed. Russell Crowe takes a medal off his chest and pins it onto the body of Gavroche – that got me!
For those of you that are sitting there thinking, “Urgh! can’t think of anything worse 2½ hours of singing! I hate musical theatre!” – STOP! Yes, it is musical theatre, but there are no jazz hands, cheesy smiles and dance routines. It is a very powerful piece of theatre (& cinematography). It is moving, uplifting and inspiring all at once – and I have seen grown men cry in the theatre at it!
If you haven’t seen the film – try to see it.
I will be eagerly awaiting the release of the DVD, in the meantime having had the songs spinning round my head since Friday I think I’m going to dig out the CD and have a sing-a-longy in the car tomorrow on the school run 😉