Les Miserables review
For the first hour this was the best show I've ever seen. But then it started to live up to its name -- Les Miserables. But for that first hour though, it was pretty fantastic.
Now, bear in mind that this review contains quite a few plot spoilers... so you might want to stop reading now. But I think it helps to know the plot before you go and see a musical, because it's not always easy to hear what the singers are warbling on about. It's quite wordy and you have to listen pretty carefully because it's a very long plot. It literally takes a lifetime. The main guy ages into an old man by the close, and his little kid becomes an adult and marries off. So if you don't pay attention you end up wondering who all these new actors and actresses are -- they are the same characters later in life.
The first half is all about a convict (played by Wolverine in the movie, I forget his name) and a guy who's trying to catch him (Russell Crowe). After he steals a few candlesticks from a bishop the convict decides to turn his life around, and ends up meeting the Anne Hathaway character -- a down on her luck low-life who ends up dead. Along the way she turns to prostitution and some of the scenes are quite ribald. There's even a few sexual gestures and swearwords. They've got a comedy couple too with some genuinely funny lines, so it whips along at a fantastic pace and it's all being set up for the big showdown, but then he adopts her little kid and it all grinds to a halt...
That is the main reason why it tails off in the second half, I think. In the blink of an eye the interesting chase between the copper and the convict fades into the background, and the raggedy scruffy urchin kid transforms into a beautiful adult and is dropped straight into the middle of a romance with a guy you've never even met. You haven't known this new couple long enough to care about their love life. I was hoping she'd get shot but alas, she survived all the way up to the altar. Personally, I would have shot her at the interval.
Pretty much the entire second half takes place in one location -- the Parisian barricades, which sounds more exciting than it is. All the decent tunes have dried up by this time, and the story just plods along until the inevitable marriage. Even the showdown is a letdown.
But back to the first half... some of the rhyming and couplets are pretty clever and the tunes are great. I can't recall any of them right now, though (one hour later). But at the time I heard them I thought they were good.
I do recommend it, purely for the strength of the first hour.
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