I can’t imagine Les Mis needs spoiler alerts- it seems the only possible new audience is the spouse/partner/now-old-enough-child of someone who was watching the stage production in the 80s and 90s. I saw it twice in Chicago, once very close in, and once from the balcony.

TL;DR version – it was good and you should watch it, IF you know it already.

First – the amazing stuff.
Eddie Redmayne as Marius. I never cared for the character of Marius in the show but Eddie is STUNNING in Empty Chairs and Empty Tables which totally makes up for him needing to make eyes at Cosette.

The opening sequence in the shipyard. A great way to hold to the awfulness of being a prisoner while doing something that could not have been effective in the stage show. Beautiful, moving, great opening.

Colm returning to play the Bishop. It was just lovely to hear his voice and see the passing of the torch.

Second – the thing I wanted that was unreasonable.
When I saw the first clips of it (which was the extended view) and saw Anne doing I Dreamed a Dream I burst into tears because she did such a great job nailing it. Still … and I know that I am being unreasonable here … I was over exposed to it or something because when the time came it didn’t quite deliver.

What I thought of a couple of times was the way Across The Universe and Glee have changed the entire dynamic of Beatles song I Want To Hold Your Hand … and how Anne was able to deliver a performance that was more raw than someone delivering it 6x/week on stage — but still … eh.

Finally, the place that it collapsed for me.
Every time Russell Crowe was on the screen. I just hit YouTube to see if there was some video documentation that Russell should have had this role. Actually what I found was this (boozed up?) version … and hell, if he’d shown up as the Elvis / Beatle version he sings here it would have helped.

Anyhow, I wish that Russell would have understood the dynamic between Javert and Valjean which he totally seemed to miss.

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