My New York Les Miserables experience, September 2007
However, I was not overly excited to see the newest theatrical version, even though I would see Hugh Jackman in almost anything (and I have). But everyone who had seen it proclaimed profusely how much they loved it, Anne Hathaway was getting rave reviews, and suddenly I had to see it.
My mind is still percolating on what my overall feeling of the movie is. No doubt, the story and music are amazing, that's not a question. But how did this specific movie do? At first I thought it was long (am I becoming old and out of touch??!!). In the moment I thought it wasn't anything special, but as I left the theater and walked downtown I couldn't stop whistling "Do You Hear the People Sing?", or thinking about Valjean and how he raised Cosette as his own and loved her, how Eponine was selfless and caring, how Javert spent his life looking for one man who he considered a con but was actually so much more. My lasting impression of it is that it is a very nice production and does the history of Les Miserables proud.
On a technical note, I thought it was very cool how the director was able to give nearly every actor a one-shot song solo, from Valjean to Fantine to Eponine to Marius. As most everyone knows by now, the actors sang live on set, and it shows. It's very cool. The director perhaps used the close-up too much, but that's just a little quibble. The story is moving, and I found myself getting teary-eyed more times than I'd like to admit, but I was in good company with the rest of the theater, who I could hear sniffling. When the rebels stand at the barricade and finish singing "Do You Hear the People Sing" a girl in the audience actually whooped. And at the end we all clapped.