Monday, January 07, 2013

Bob's birthday was Saturday. We went to see Les Mis. I'd have opted out if it hadn't been his birthday. It is far from my favorite show, and when I saw it on Broadway, I hated it. However, the movie was the best adaptation of the story that I've seen. That's surprising, as I never expect a movie to be better than a play.

Bob loves Les Mis, and said it was the best movie he's seen in years. (However, he may have been saying that just to irritate me.) I'm sure Bob is right in his belief that it will mop up many awards, as Hollywood eats this stuff up. To him, it is deserved; to me, not so much. For me, the best thing about the movie was that it resulted in my understanding the story better than I have before. It's a complex and confusing narrative, and previous exposure only muddied the waters.

I expected Russell Crowe's performance to be strong, but it turns out he was one of the weaker singers, and I did not sense the intense anger I would expect in the role. Anne Hathaway, whom I regard as the flavor of the day, had a much stronger performance than I anticipated and she certainly emoted like crazy.The casting of the innkeeper and his wife (which I'm sure everyone finds wonderful) was a disappointment to me. In my mind's eye they are short, fat and middle-aged, not recycled characters from a half dozen movies these two have been in.

The actress who played the adult Cosette has eyes set so far apart she reminded me of a salmon. Cosette as a child and Fantine were not dirty enough in appearance. Yes, they had smudges on their faces and worn clothes, but they looked downright charming in comparison to the other prostitutes and street urchins.

It's a dark and brutal tale, and as portrayed on the screen, it was disgusting at times. The depressed mood it generates lingers. I've concluded that whatever the merits, I just don't like the story, and I don't identify with the characters. I can't comprehend why Javier would waste his time and municipal resources chasing a minor felon for so many years. I cannot appreciate the various personal relationships and the romance between Cosette and Marius seems trite when compared to the political uprising.

Afterwards, we ate at Bongiorno's. There are so many wonderful Italian restaurants in the Capital District that it was hard to choose, but Bob's inspiration was perfect as a counter to the assault that was Les Mis.

Here we are in 1985

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