I think I’ve maybe matured a little bit. I’m past being over-defensively upset at this review: Les Miserables taught me how to hate again. The most mature commenter, SmallNotes, said the following about the review, and I think it highlights some of our society’s ills:
“You make several good points here — Russel Crowe should not have been cast in that role (he did not sing or act well) and the movie did make the romance too simplistic because, as your wife noted, some small parts were either cut from the development of the relationship between Marius and Cosette or a had a different tenor in the movie, where the camera (unlike in a stage musical where you can look wherever you want) sidelines some of the concurrent action, like the struggle between the parting lovers when Valjean is leaving Rue Plumet. (Though even so, it is a conceit in operas and musicals to have this hyperbolic “love at first sight,” which, if you are more familiar with the genre, is acceptable.) It seems the director wanted to focus more on some of the action sequences, which didn’t really pay off, considering it’s much more an inward-looking tale than an action-packed extravaganza. These inward struggles are exactly why the theme of aloneness crops up so often; even Victor Hugo in his novel sought to dramatize the plight of France’s poor by collecting a number of characters together who are desperate for salvation in their own ways.
Overall, I would suggest watching the movie with a more critical eye and less with the detachment that so many modern males cultivate, the football-or-be-damned approach to the arts. Your cutting language may be entertaining to read (as a piece of humoros storytelling it is excellent), but it shuts down a dialogue that might open your eyes to enjoying some of what you saw in the theater. I would submit that one of the reasons you did not like the movie was because you didn’t WANT to like the movie. You weren’t SUPPOSED to like the movie. Society told you so.”
The blog post relishes in the supposed divide between maleness and femaleness. I don’t like the term chick flick, and neither do I like the football cult. “Girl” movies may be hyper-romantic and emotional, but reveling in violent physical conflict isn’t necessarily all men should do with themselves either. Les Mis, the musical, I don’t remember if I ever read the whole book, puts suffering under the microscope, and women, being today’s stereotypically empathetic creatures, connect with that. It’s sad to me that men who “grow out of” feeling deeply or who remain artistic (I say it that way because most little boys are sweet) are said to be in touch with their feminine side, or are called worse names. In Hugo’s day sensitivity was not relegated to just the feminine gender.
One, technically two, thought(s) about the casting: Russell Crowe is the first sympathetic Javert I’ve seen. His rigidness was fitting with the character, but at the same time, I thought he subtly humanized him better than others have. He’s also the first one, out of many I’ve heard, who made me actually like the song, “Stars”. I thought his singing improved amazingly through the course of the filming, unlike Jackman’s whose got worse and worse until he ruined Val Jean’s prettiest song, “Bring Him Home”. My favorite voice for Val Jean is Alfie Boe”s in the 25th anniversary rendition.
My main complaint with the film was the graphic nature of the crude scenes, like what goes on at the Thernardiers’ and what happened to Fantine. I really don’t like, hate actually, my children getting sex ed in movies. People have become so desensitized to sexual content in entertainment. I don’t hear hardly anyone else complain about it unless it reaches Rated X levels. I’ve heard people say how clean, smart and funny Big Bang Theory is, and I can’t get past the affected look of one of the characters. I tried 10 minutes of the show this week and all they talked about was another character sleeping with someone. The whole 10 minutes. Turn off. I’m too prudy for this world. So alone, so alone, so alone (ironic, self-consciously self deprecating nod to the review [parenthetical nod to a previously cited Hobbit review about affected self-awareness]).