Its quite well established that I love a bit of musical theatre. In fact I’m just deciding what to book for my birthday in a few weeks. I have seen many and varied performances and I usually enjoy films of musicals too.
Quite a while ago – probably 12 years ago – I went to see Les Miserables with my Mum and my Sister, who is a big fan, at the Cambridge Theatre in London. I was expecting great things. It was not to be. I was really disappointed, just not getting what all the hype was at all. It just didn’t reach out to me.
Of course, a few years ago, they made a big razzle dazzle film of it with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe playing the main protagonists. Interesting choices, I thought, but I still wasn’t bothered about going to see it. It won all sorts of awards and I heard all kinds of good things about Anne Hathaway’s performance but no, I still didn’t feel like I had to get it when the DVD came out.
However it appeared on the Netflix list over the Christmas period, so I saved it and sat down this afternoon to give it a go, as it’s the first time I’ve had a few hours on my own for a while.
I have to be honest. There was a lot to like. I liked the fact that the main parts were played by actors who you wouldn’t normally expect on a stage – although Hugh Jackman did start out that way in Oklahoma and playing Gaston in Beauty and the Beast but most people don’t realise that – to me it gave it a bit more of a realistic edge.
I really liked the intimacy of the solo songs. Just one person singing straight to camera during the heart-breaking songs was, to me, better than sitting in the back of an auditorium. You got to see the emotion better. Watching a tear fall down someone’s cheek has to tug at the heartstrings.
I loved Anne Hathaway’s version of I Dreamed A Dream, and when Hugh Jackman sung Bring Him Home I was blubbing like a baby. Usually I find that song a bit overblown. I loved the comic relief of Sacha Baren Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter.
But…I still don’t get it. The story doesn’t really do it for me and as for the insipid couple of Cosette and Marius – meh! There are some good songs but they’ve been done to death.
Oh, well. You can’t like everything, eh?