Ah, that French classic, that one we’ve all heard of, but so few of us have read, or watched, or even just listened to… Well, I watched the movie, like, 2 weeks ago, and here’s my review.
So, where do I begin? I knew very little about Les Mis. I expected there to be a revolution (almost right), and I expected them to succeed in it. I was wrong, and that made me sad.
So, the plot’s quite simple. Ex-criminal-slave-who-was-the-victim-of-a-ridiculous-sentence-plus-a-ridiculously-long-manhunt-despite-turning-his-life-around-and-sparing-the-life-of-his-pursuer decides to save the daughter of a woman he inadvertently pushed towards selling her body to pay for the aforementioned child, takes her to Paris where thy get tangled up in the June Rebellion of 1832 (or there-abouts) and then the ex-prisoner bloke dies and the daughter is due to marry the co-finder and sole survivor of the rebellion, who apparently is some rich person’s son. Oh, and all the dead people sing the rebellion song, but with edited lyrics because they were in their version of heaven and the rebellion succeeded, but that’s my interpretation and not necessarily canon.
So, that’s the plot, and whilst I must say, that was a lot easier to write than I thought, it’s still pretty complicated when I think about it. I mean, I know stuff happened, but I can’t link some of it in to the main plot, or even link some characters plot’s pieces together. For example, an innkeeper and his wife were “looking after the girl” in some village/town near where the ex-convict-slave was turning his life around and then they end up in Paris when the other people end up in Paris and it doesn’t really make sense to me.
So, what do I think? Well, despite the complicated nature of the plot and the vast inter-weaving of characters and their own experiences and seemingly unlinked lives, I find the tangled mess of activity to be fun to watch and enthralling to try to unravel. It’s like there’s a party in my brain and Thénardier is providing the food. In short, I’m mostly happy, but there’s a few misgivings in there.
What I did not expect, however, is for damn near everything to be a bloody song. I didn’t. I should have, but I didn’t. Even worse, in retrospect I don’t think I mind that much. Some of the songs have stuck with me, such as “One Day More”, “Master of the House”, “At The End of The Day” and “Do You Hear The People Sing”. The skill of the actors known for acting rather than singing, is superb, and you have to wonder if they were singing at all, or they pulled professionals in. I don’t care. It sounded good to me.
And the acting was great. I really started to believe that some of the actors were the characters, even if they all sang in English and seemed thoroughly pleased with life despite it meaning to be a sad tale.
However, one thing has been bugging me. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. Two good acting professionals. However, they both seem to have a bit of a problem maintaining a French accent. They both sounded exceptionally British, which to me, is not that good a thing when they’re singing about being innkeepers in France. Just saying.
I felt great emotion whilst watching. When Gavroche got shot whilst collecting from the bodies of the dead soldiers, and when the rebellion was finally quenched and the people of Paris turned their backs on their would-be liberators… I felt extremely sad and though of the song Viva La Vida, which seems to be fit for the film.
So, that’s everything I can think of to say about the film that’s worth saying. I was reluctant to watch it, but now… Now I realise I was foolish to think like that.