Les Misérables, The Film

We saw Hooper's Les Misérables last night and I thought it was fantastic. Two minor criticisms that are hardly worth mentioning: Seyfried's voice (too shrill) and the night scenes (many were too dark). The acting and singing was overwhelmingly poignant, and this is probably why:

"Part of the success of the performances in the film owes greatly to Hooper's (the director) decision to record the actors singing on set, rather than have them lip-sync to pre-recorded tracks, the usual method for filming musicals. The technique works exactly as intended: The actors, freed from having to match a vocal performance from weeks or months prior, are able to live in the moment. The impact on the emotional immediacy of the songs is striking." - NPR

I was particularly impressed with Russell Crowe's performance -- who knew he could sing! Great pick for Javert who is unquestionably the most interesting character in the story. Overall, the film is a powerful rendition of one of the longest novels ever written, and perhaps one of the most important. I agree wholeheartedly with this statement from Upton Sinclair:

"So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation, which, in the face of civilization, artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny that is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three problems of the age—the degradation of man by poverty, the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood by physical and spiritual night—are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless."