Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Favorite Musical Numbers in Les Miserables

Just saw Les Mis for the second time.  Here are my personal favorite numbers from the movie, the ones that worked best on film with this cast.

This song was one of the most heavily edited but Hooper uses it to his advantage as the attention to detail provides the movie with a majority of its gags.  Not that this number was devoid of miserableness, most of the laughs were extremely dark highlighting the lengths the Thenadiers would go to make a buck.  This is a good showcase for Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen in one of his best performances.

This was the original song for the movie and it fits pretty naturally.  There is a tenderness in this number and a hopefulness, which to be honest this story could always use more hope.  Hugh sings it well and it is very personal.

A beautiful sweeping shot of the city starts this memorable song.  The chorus is powerful and the images are tragic.  The poor crowd begging for their life fits the scenery so well and sets the mood for the movie.

This is my favorite song and I think it works better on the stage.  However film allows to show the different locations, representing the similar themes and hopes in different setting.  I love this song, especially Samantha Barks' part.  Some more fun bits from Thenadiers too.

This starts the picture and it leaves an impact.  The slaves moving the ship is one of the most fantastic images the movie provides.  Jackman has never been more tragic and Crowe's intense Javert perfectly set up the two's story.

I love Samantha Barks so much.  Watching her tragic pleas for love make it impossible to not want to save this poor girl.  Barks has a beautiful voice and is extremely expressive.  She is a terrific Eponine onstage and on screen.

4. Valjean Forgiven
Seeing Colm Wilkinson interact with the character he originated really is something.  Despite the short role he is one of the film's best singers.  This scene has made an impact on me, just because it is such a huge turning point of Valjean.  The forgiveness of the Bishop and the struggle of Valjean as he accepts and changes is the heart of the story for me.

This was not a song I was looking forward to in the movie, but when I saw grieving Eddie Redmayne's emotional performance it became one of my favorites.  Casting a boyish 30-year-old as Marius was one of the film's best casting choices as Redmayne brings a lot of maturity to the youthful character.  There is a real sense of loss in his characterization.  This tragedy stands out amidst the many tragedies of the musical.

This is the song that has people talking and had me crying the most.  While Hooper has been criticized for overusing closeups he uses them on expressive performers and leaves the focus on them for many songs.  Hathaway is absolutely heartbreaking.  She is raw and real.  It is an amazing performance.

This makes it all worth it.  The story crams in one final tragic scene with Fantine and the Bishop ushering Valjean and his completed story arc into heaven as he dies in front of his daughter.  It is beautiful and uplifting as the large cast of people including the dead characters sing Do You Hear the People Sing in Paris.  This song leaves you with the message, "To love another person is to see the face of God."  A perfect and epic note to end on.

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