Things I Liked:
Casting: I thought this was extremely spot on. There was not a single character I was disappointed with. I even liked Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, and that's saying a lot since I really am not a fan of hers. (Sorry if you ever read this, Amanda, I'm sure you're a wonderful person!) When Taylor Swift was top runner for Eponine, I was very disappointed to I am incredibly thankful they chose Samantha Barks over her (or Lea Michelle for that matter). She did such an incredible job! (And if there's anyone out there who's curious, Eponine has always been my dream role). For the men, I thought both Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman were well cast. They brought the perfect emotion to the characters. Both Valjean and Javert are difficult characters because of the depth of emotion they have to express but it was so well done! And can we talk about Eddie Redmayne as Marius? Yeah, he's
Music: I LOVED that the music didn't necessarily follow the way it is sung on Broadway. I loved the creative license the actors were able to take to convey the emotion of the song. I felt the emotion in the music in a different way than I ever had before. There were times I was literally quivering in my seat because of how great it was! I saw Les Mis live in London but, obviously, the emotion that was able to be expressed in the movie was a hundred fold to the emotion on stage. I remember being in awe over the last song on stage but in the theater it sent shivers up my spine in a way it never had before. AMAZING!
(Also, can I just say how amazing it is to see a scene of "heaven" and hear them alluding to Isaiah 2:3-4 when they sing "They will live again in freedom/ In the garden of the Lord/ They will walk behind the plowshare/ They will put away the sword/ The chain will be broken/ And all men will have their reward" Awe inspiring!)
Storyline: Obviously, because they were preforming the musical, they didn't have much wiggle room with the storyline. There were a few things they changed here and there but for the most part I liked the changes. SPOILER ALERT: I had never really understood why Valjean left Cosette once she and Marius were together, before the scene when he died. The movie did a wonderful job of explaining how Valjean told Marius about his life. Is that in the Broadway version and just not on the CD? If so, I must have missed it when I saw it preformed live. It was many years ago, so that's very possible.
Things I Didn't Like So Much:
Music: There were a few changes in lyrics that I wasn't too fond of and didn't really understand why they had to change them. One of the most noticeable for me was changing Valjeans line of "Your mother gave her life for you/ Then gave you to my keeping" to something like "A man who never learned to love/ Till you were in his keeping." (I couldn't find the lyric anywhere so I think that's what it is) None of the lyrical changes made a difference to the plot but, being all about holding true to the musical, I thought they should have remained the same. I also wasn't a huge fan of some of the other explanatory dialogue. I understood why it needed to be added, since not everyone is obsessed with Les Mis and understands what's going on. I felt like it was trying way to hard when the characters sang the dialogue. It seemed so elementary compared to the lyrics of the actual songs. Even Nate, who had only listened to the soundtrack once (and wasn't really able to listen since I was singing along to all of it) knew some of the spots that had been added in. I wish they just would have spoken those lines.
Acting: Spoiler Alert (this whole section): There were two scenes that weren't acted in the way I envision them. One of them was the song Lovely Ladies when Fantine gave into prostitution. In the movie it came of so boisterous and everyone loved the idea of prostitution other than Fantine. I always envisioned it with the other prostitutes being worn down and defeated, giving into the life of prostitution but not enjoying it. In my mind, they pull Fantine into it simply because it is a way to provide, not because it's something to desire. The movie, to me, made it seem as though everyone other than Fantine viewed prostitution positively. The other scene(s) that weren't acted in the way I envisioned them were all the scenes with the Thenardiers. I understand that, with how dark the movie was, there was a need for comic relief, but that's not how I envision that couple. In the movie, they're funny. Although they're crooks, it's amusing how they get away with the things they do. I've always pictured them as more villainous and conniving than funny. Both these "issues" I have really come down to interpretation so it's simply my critique, not something negative about the movie as a whole.
All in all, I'd give the movie an 8/10. It was so good but there were a few things I didn't absolutely love. Another aspect that people need to consider in going to see it is age. I've been listening to the soundtrack since I can remember, I saw it live in fifth grade, and I read the book in eighth grade. I love that I was able to be cultured in this way at a young age. That being said, I would NOT let my child (younger than 13 or so) watch this movie. It gives a very dark look at France during the Revolution and made both Nate and me walk away with pits in our stomachs. It was done amazingly well and the darkness was perfectly right for the themes in the movie. The darkness is not something you can express on stage or through a soundtrack. I believe young children should not be exposed to that kind of darkness. That being said, I think that everyone (age appropriate) should go see it!!! Do it now if you haven't yet!!!!
Also, I'd LOVE to hear what you liked/didn't like about the movie.