Les Miserables: Uch, haine
Never have I been so delighted to break a review screener in half as instructed. Les Miserables is everything I mean when I say I hate musicals: loud, obvious, sincere, leaden, fucking goddamn endless. Every single line is sung, including transitional and stage-business things that have no need of a melody line, and every member of the cast is bellowing at full strength, even though the camera is right there in every shot, like, no need to shout, cheri. Everything is horribly grimy and unfair, and Javert hasn't taken a satisfying dump since the last time they chose a pope. Got it. Quiet down.
Javert…oy. Russell Crowe is as overmatched and self-serious as you've heard, unconvinced his own self that he can hit the notes — or that anyone should, and if the actors don't believe that their characters would sing their travails, why should the audience care? I wouldn't have cared anyway, because I've never had any use for Les Miz thanks to its cardboard conflicts and these-go-to-eleven songcraft, but Hugh Jackman almost sells it. Then, inevitably, the plot asks us to care about a flavorless love triangle (Eddie Redmayne is once again laboring in a role that doesn't give him much to do beyond "moonstruck," and while he's very good at that, he'd better start picking parts with more range before he ages out of those freckles). There are moppets, plural. Anne Hathaway's big one-take moment is a legit show-stopper, and good for her, but it does not contain enough mercy within its multitudes to actually stop the show; the movie just…keeps…going. I now have a master's degree in art-directed dirty fingernails.
This isn't to say that I don't get why Les Miz works on people; I do. I can see how and where that visceral connection would get made. It's just on a frequency I don't pick up, same as David Lynch and Macallan 12, and like those things, trying to get it is an exercise in frustration.
If you liked it, you're right. If you think you'll hate it, you're right.
Tags: ankle-biters of film Anne Hathaway David Lynch Eddie Redmayne Hugh Jackman It's Log: The Musical Les Mizzzzzz Russell Crowe shut up France shut up musicals simmer down freshman