I finally went to see it!
I love Les Miserables. I have loved it since I was a teenager. When everyone at school was listening to … actually I have no idea at all what they were listening to. I was too busy listening to musicals. There was no chance I wasn’t going to go and see this film. I dragged the rest of the family along too.
I was a bit worried about certain actors who are not known as singers, taking on a major part of my adolescence and potentially messing up my memories. I also have no way of listening to the original any more. I only have the second CD of my original London cast recording still in its case. The first half has evaporated completely. As someone who keeps all my CDs in their correct boxes, rotated the right way up, in the correct drawer, this is a complete mystery, and unfixable as that recording is not produced any more.
I needn’t have worried. It was great. Apart from the odd mental jolt where words which had been imprinted on my brain were changed slightly, It was brilliant to see the story all the way through.
I have seen the whole thing twice before: London in 1990, and The Dunedin Operatic Society in (I think) 1993. My mum was obliged to accompany me to the London show, and she hated it. She thought the story was depressing (true) and that they shouted rather than sang. I suspect I was doing my best to be a rebellious teenager, getting my mum to accompany me to something she hated! I enjoyed every second.
So, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. He was great, and really that’s all I can say. I was most impressed. Amanda Seyfried trilled away, as birdlike as you could wish for Cosette. On the down side I couldn’t imagine being carried away by the thought of Eddie Redmayne as Marius, as I was with Michael Ball all those years ago. Perhaps it’s an age thing*.
Russell Crowe. I thought he did a very good job as Javert. Stars, though, is one of my favourite songs of all time, and Russell Crowe didn’t quite hit the mark with it. If you really want to know how it should be sung, listen to Philip Quast.
Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) was perfect. And Anne Hathaway as Fantine? I don’t know. I was crying too much.
The question now is do I try to hunt down an old original London cast recording, or do I buy a new film recording? My favourite option at the moment is both.
*Just listening to (the second half of) the original cast recording. It’s not an age thing. It’s a voice thing.