There were a couple of scenes in the movie that, had I known they were there, would have kept me from going to see it. I know Victor Hugo infused his story with some very adult themes, but there are ways of telling a story without showing everything. When did it become okay for a 13 year old to see that?
That said, the constant closeups of not-so-perfect faces were refreshing. How many huge, epic movies like this don't give a hooey about making the actors look their best? How often does Hollywood show us real people with real complexions? Real faces? Snot? I was able to stop worrying about if the actors were well-trained singers, or beautiful, or even good actors. I didn't care. I just got enveloped by the story and the experience. The actors were vehicles for Victor Hugo's voice and the moving musical score and the reality and poignance of the human experience.
I really did feel that way, but of course I still have lots to say about the individual actors and their contributions. Russell Crowe didn't quite convince me. I know it's sad, but at the end, right before he makes his final choice, all I could think about was Geoffrey Rush. It might have been his vocals, or (as Josh suggested) the fact that Crowe's one, grim facial expression didn't show us enough of his inner conflict. Still, I didn't mind him too much.
As you know, in general I am quite turned off by Anne Hathaway, but in this movie I think she did a really good job. And her vocals were beautiful. I may or may not have cried during her screentime. Sure, she was given a sob story, but she made it her own.
As I mentioned earlier, Eddie Redmayne was in The Yellow Handkerchief. In that movie, he was a weird, antisocial, special needs kinda kid and so I was amazed when I saw his stunning performance as Marius. Wow, he was good. What a talented actor to play two such different roles. He has so many facial expressions, so much depth. He was probably my favorite.
Cosette... well, if they could have brought the musical score down by two steps, I think she would have sounded less like a chipmunk. I think her voice (tremolo and all) is nice enough, but they didn't do her any favors by putting her up in the stratosphere. She was just fine overall, though.
Hugh Jackman did a very good job, little Cosette was just right. Eponine was wonderful. Her scene all wet with rain was moving and real and unglamorous, which just added to her strength. The Thenardiers were just right, even with how many movies I've seen Helena Bonham Carter in lately.
The Hobbit's pacing felt quite different to me, and of course that is due to the fact that they have three whole movies to develop the story and the characters and the mood. Josh and I came up with the word "indulgent" to describe the length and breadth of some of the scenes in the movie. The part where the unexpected dinner visitors show up at Bilbo's house? No way they would have dedicated so much time to that scene if there had only been one movie. We definitely benefited from the leisurely pace at which the story was told. Although, honestly, I was relieved when the Gollum scene was finally over. Blech.
Bilbo was perfect, as he has been in any movie I've seen him in. And did you know that the Thorin dwarf guy is the guy from North and South? For some reason I find that hilarious.
Hair isn't everything.
Agree with me? Disagree? Think I'm too harsh? Fall asleep before you made it to the end of this post?