I went to see the Les Miserables film yesterday afternoon at the Broadway cinema in Nottingham. I had been looking forward to this for weeks and weeks and wasn't disappointed. I hadn't heard the best of reports online on Russell Crowe's singing abilities or the performances of the Thenardiers but, to be fair, they were just different from the West End stars as was the direction of the whole.
I particularly liked the immediacy of the piece with the live singing and I was intrigued by the additional dialogue and new sung through lyrics in some scenes. The actual new song 'Suddenly' filled a story line gap but otherwise was unmemorable. I thought that the main actors' performances were stunning, especially Hugh as Jean Valjean/M. Madeleine and Anne Hathaway as the tragic Fantine.
Another surprise (not in the stage musical) was when Valjean and Cosette arrive at the North Gate of Paris and are on the run from Javert. Feet away from being caught they are met by M. Fauchelevent ( the man Jean Valjean rescued when trapped under the carriage) at a convent and he agrees to hide them there.
I loved the young lad who played Gavroche the second he popped out of the top of the elephant figure and made his way through the crowds stealing and dodging the law. I felt that I learnt much more from the film than I did the stage musical, namely the handing over of Javert's medal to Gavroche as he lay dead and the fact that the barricade was the last barricade left standing in the Victor Hugo's version of the June uprising of 1832. When they brought the cannons on to blast away the barricade I actually gasped.
The end was superb and I was thrilled to see Colm Wilkinson again at the end. Lastly, well for now, the settings were superb! Wow, what a film! And, of course I didn't cry.