We saw Les Mis and took notes during the movie, because we’ll do anything to become internet famous. Obvi there are spoilers ahead, but in our defense, this musical’s been out for 25 years.
T: The Overture is playing and I’m already fighting the urge to sing along.
M: Just me, or do the first chords of the overture sound like the beginning of Beauty and the Beast, another beloved musical set in 19th century France? I am now composing a mental mash up: “Little town, it’s a quiet village (At the end of the day you’re another day older), Every day like the one before (And that’s all you can say in the life of the poor).” Works pretty well.
T: A straggler walks up the stairs next to us wearing an ugly Christmas sweater (non-ironically); reminds me I’m in the suburbs where people actually do that.
M: Okay, SO funny Traci should mention that, because I made a mental note to ask her whether she’s missed Western NY fashions and coiffure. [My physical note, however, simply read “THIS SWEATER.”]
T: Wondering if Hugh Jackman’s gnarly beard is real. It looks like a grey Brillo pad.
M: Why does Valjean have an accent out of a 1950s western? This shit is getting rhotic
T: Note to self: Look up the ginge Foreman in the factory where Fantine works, looks famil.
T: Alright. I had my doubts about Princess Diaries when I saw the first trailer, but seeing her in I Dreamed a Dream is basically why she deserves all the awards. This also marks the first time I teared up.
M: Anne Hathaway is one of the most phenomenal ugly criers I’ve seen. I hope that is taken as the compliment that it is. Her crying deserves its own blog post. (T note: Don’t worry guys, it’s coming)
T: Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are on point as Madame and Monsieur Thenardier. Except Cohen’s accent is questionable, pretty sure I heard Borat sneaking in there.
M: I am just confused. Why is Sacha Baron Cohen being allowed to do what I assume is supposed to be a French accent? See, this is why most movies set in non-anglophone countries just make everyone sound vaguely British: consistency. And so accents like this don’t happen.
T: So here’s the thing with going into a movie-musical adaptation with knowledge of the music so well: you can’t help but go in comparing the new version to the original. In this case I’d say everyone made it their own… Except Russell Crowe. This was especially evident during Stars. His performance was mediocre at most, and felt flat the entire time. It was like a high school student singing in his chorus concert. This number is supposed to be the first breakout song for Javert, a song that expresses his desire to hunt down JVJ, but it felt like Russell was just trying to focus on hitting the notes. And everyone knows he’s a good actor, but it just did not show at all in the movie. If you want to see a real version of Stars, watch Phillip Quast.
M: I am getting so much secondhand vertigo from Javert walking on this ledge. I feel like I’m going to sympathy puke like I’m in third grade and the teacher has just brought out that vomit-muffling sawdust. Also I see what you’re doing here, Les Mis.
T: Fun fact: Nick Jonas of Selena Gomez’s ex-bf played Gavroche on Broadway when he was a little kid. He went on to play Marius in the west end production in 2011, where Samantha Barks, who plays Eponine in the movie, also played Eponine to Nicky’s Marius. They both were in the 25th anniversary concert production which I remember watching and felt second hand embarrassment for Nick J, even though I love him (no shame).
M: No wait. Just wait. The kids are all so Cockney that I think Cosette’s going to tell Thenardier “please sir, I want some more” and call JVJ “gov’nah.” What sort of Parisian United Nations is this supposed to take place in? Let’s make it easy: BBC accents for rich people, chav-speak for poor people.
T: AARON TVEIT!!!! I seriously forget every time that Aaron is in Les Mis as rev leader Enjorlas. To theater nerds, you know who he is. To everyone else, you may recognize him as Trip Archibald, Nate’s politician cousin that seduced Serena in Gossip Girl. Or as I know him, a smokeshow Broadway singer that I’m in love with.
M: This anachronistic hair is killing me! Who would have cut Eponine’s side bangs for her? That’s pretty high maintenance for someone who likely would have bathed about as often as she celebrated Christmas.
T: Can someone explain to me why Samantha Barks is so so tiny?! Corset probably? Or like that ancient Chinese foot banding thing but for her waist?
M: God Christ Jesus, Samantha Barks’s waist was achieved with CGI… Right? Mother of God there is no hope for the rest of us.
T: Can someone also explain to me why I found Hugh Jackman attractive while he was wearing his Seinfeld puffy shirt and lederhosen??
M: I have grown so old that I can’t sit one way for 20 minutes without my knees hurting. I bet this is super distracting to the people behind me. I mean I hope it is, this girl has kicked my seat back at least once a musical number.
M: My notes during On My Own read “Joey Potter.” I meant this. Holmes killed it. She made that song die.
T: Oh hey, remember that time when my favorite (least favorite) Taylor Swift was almost cast as Eponine? Really dodged a bullet with that one.
M: New blog post: Les Mis songs as written by Taylor Swift? “She wears hoop skirts, I wear corsets, She’s petit bourgeois, I’m just a street kid…”.
M: Are these ridiculously attractive young men representative of what Frenchmen look like? I don’t remember seeing so many handsome gents when I went there, but if someone can confirm I may have to go back.
M: I was cringing the second Gavroche began singing Little People. Don’t even start, lil buddy! It’s not going to go great.
T: Pretty sure I heard somebody snoring during Empty Chairs.
T: Eddie Redmayne tho. WTG.
T: Something I’ve never thought about before: why was it so easy for Cossette and Marius to fall in love after making googly eyes at each other and signing a duet through a cast iron fence? I’m available to do that with a suitor at any time.
M: Why is only Eponine’s face wet? Little fall of rain, indeed.
M: Alright, there it goes on Marius.
M: Dude, no. Javert, no. Get off the ledge. I’m getting a headache.
T: JVJ’s death scene (kind of) verbatim:
JVJ : I can die now. I’m over this.
Fantine: Yes, come hang out with me and all these boys from the rev.
Cossette : No, don’t die. You can’t die.
JVJ: Yes I can.
Cossette: No you can’t!
JVJ: Yes I can, woman! Watch me. PS: Here’s a letter I wrote about my life because I couldn’t tell you when I had the chance.
T: Total times I cried: 4. Sounds about right.
M: Cried less than I thought! Like twice-ish. Little tears. I thought I was going to go full-Hathaway.
T: In case you were wondering: ginge foreman was no one. I’m not always right about these things.
M: Just so you know, a lot of people have been googling “Samantha Barks waist” and now I’m oddly concerned that she’ll find out and get self-conscious. Girl, ya look good. I mean she’s probably doing fine, right? Yeah.