Five noteworthy things about the Les Miserables movie that NOBODY seems to be talking about.
By Michael Kras (Actor/Director/Playwright)
Admit it: You've seen the movie version of Les Miserables. More than once. No need to be ashamed, so have I! And, like any die-hard fan, I went to Tom Hooper's epic film version of arguably the most celebrated musical of all time with a critical eye.
However, I'm not here to write a review. In short, I was just like most people in that there were some parts I adored and other parts I wanted to kill with fire. But this is about something different. Upon seeing Les Miserables, I noticed quite a few things that really captured my interest for various reasons. I was quite shocked to later discover that virtually nobody was talking about these particular things that stood out to me so strongly. And that's why I bring you my list of the Top Five Les Mis Moments Nobody's Talking About.
Without further ado, here's Number One...
#1. The Foreman
THIS GUY WAS AWESOME! He was perfectly slimy and hateable as The Foreman, and he sang better than some of the leads (ahem). Usually, men who tackle this role are loud and bombastic, but this fellow's performance went the opposite direction and it worked so well. I even went home and Googled the guy because I had no idea who he was. And now that I know his name is Michael Jibson, I would like to personally send him kudos for one of my favourite overlooked performances.
#2: Master of the Dance
Maybe you 'll know what moment I'm referring to, and maybe you won't. If you don't remember it, that's okay... it was literally three seconds of the movie. But during the Master of the House scene, there's a short moment near the end of the song where there's a head-on shot of Thenardier and a menagerie of drunks doing a quick little rehearsed jig of a dance. I saw this movie twice, and both times, this particular point made me laugh out loud. It's so ridiculous, and it stuck out to me because it's easily the most musical theatre-y moment of the entire movie.
#3: Grantaire gets to keep his bottle.
So I'm sitting there in the theatre, right? We're about an hour in and that means it's ABC Cafe time! And with ABC Cafe time, we get my shameful favourite line of the entire musical.
ENJOLRAS - Grantaire, put that bottle down!
I sat in anticipation, waiting for Enjolras to scream at Grantaire. Waiting for Grantaire, that weasly little drunk, to put that damn bottle down. But then, it just... didn't happen. And I don't think anybody was as disappointed as me.
#4: Javert's hilarious broken back.
Here comes that intense part of the movie where Captain Crunch.... er, Javert dramatically (SPOILER ALERT) jumps to his death, faced with his own internal conflict due to the fact that the man he's been actively pursuing for arrest for pretty much a century showed him mercy when he had the upper hand. To Russell Crowe's credit, I thought Javert's Soliloquy was exceptionally acted and sung very well (I'm in the minority of the public who actually loved Crowe's entire performance). Everything was great until right after Javert jumps, then the entire thing was ruined with a single sound effect. They just had to add in perhaps the worst back-breaking sound effect I've ever heard. It sounded like one of those punch sounds from really bad '80s Kung-Fu movies. I somehow burst into laughter and groaned at the same time. I hope they fired whoever tossed that little nugget in during post-production.
#5: I Dreamed a Dream
(Though, I will say this: I think it was a brilliant decision to move I Dreamed a Dream to after Lovely Ladies instead of before. That way, Fantine really EARNS the song. Therefore, stronger pathos! Kudos to Tom Hooper on that one.)
#5b: The new song.
As I'm sure you know, a new song titled Suddenly was written for the film. In this instance, it's understandable why I haven't been hearing much about it... after all, any non-theatre movie goers won't have any idea it didn't exist before now. For the rest of us, I still haven't been hearing many opinions about the song.
Let's just say this: It's completely obvious to me that this song only exists with the hope of being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song (which it has now) and potentially winning (which remains to be seen).
As to whether or not I liked the song? Well, I'm approaching my word limit, so it's best not to drone on...
Question of the Day: What's YOUR favourite moment from the Les Miserables movie that you don't hear anyone else talking about? I'd love to hear more!