Anne Hathaway tells MTV she cries when she watches herself in Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables because she’s “still connected to the experience of making it.” I, on the other hand, cried because there isn’t a single line of non-singing dialogue.
The lack of talking is something you might have missed from reading reviews, which have been mostly positive. Hathaway shines as factory-worker-turned-whore Fantine as does Jackman, Sacha Baron Cohen (for show-stealing comedy relief), Helena Bonham Carter, Isabelle Allen as young Cosette, and Samantha Barks.
Just please don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say there’s no talking, because there really isn’t any.
When you read an interview with Hooper and they talk about his choice to use “little spoken dialogue,” they mean “no spoken dialogue.” And when he says the “primary communication form” is singing, he really means “the only communication form.”
What you do get is a lot of crying and a lot of dying. Cry. Close-up. Die. Cry. Close-up. Die.
You’ll be crying question mark-shaped tears into your hand while watching the actors cry, next to sobbing theater-goers. It’s that depressing, and that over-the-top.
In one scene, Anne Hathaway’s ghost sings to Hugh Jackman, then Jackman dies for no apparent reason and their ghosts sing to each other. (How perfect is it that “Do You Hear The People Sing” is one of the reprised numbers?)
If you like the story of Les Mis but hate musicals, I’d recommend the movie from 1998 starring Liam Neeson, Uma Thurman, Geoffrey Rush and Claire Danes.
If you do see the new one, cover your ears as soon as you see Amanda Seyfried’s love interest Marius. Eddie Redmayne’s voice is so high-pitched, so weepy and so Michael Cera in a Bellini opera.