This week, we decided to do something a little different, and went out on Friday instead, so that we would have enough time to drive up to the next town and see Les Miserables (as our local theater didn't carry it - boo)! We looove the musical, and Maggie's Christmas present this year was a pair of tickets to go see the stage production in Baltimore. :) We figured seeing the movie would hold us over until then!
Since it was three hours long, I have to admit, I was dreading it a little. :( Not only was I really dubious that it would be worth watching, but I had just suffered through The Hobbit at our local theater with Allen, and my back and knees were in agony (there's a reason, when I went to see it the first time, that I drove to a theater two hours away where they had comfy seats).
Well, the night ended up being one of the best. sister dates. ever! :)
First amazing thing: I went online to check the showtimes, and discovered that you could reserve seats online. I've bought my tickets online a bunch of times, but usually you still have to get there early to ensure you get a good seat. This time, you could actually reserve the seats you wanted! Nice!
Then we arrived, walked into the theater, and I almost died, because the seats were huge leather recliners! I'm not kidding - my mom had a Lazyboy when I was younger, and the seats were kind of like that - oversized, plush, with electronic recliners and footrests. I could have taken a nap (in fact, I was thinking the entire time that if I had only brought Allen here last week, I could have slept through the Hobbit, since I was so terribly bored - I tried, but the seats were just too uncomfortable). Maggie and I were hugely giddy over this discovery and acted like small children as we tried to get the reclining angle just right. :) I hadn't been to this theater in years, but when I had gone, it was pretty gleck, so I was amazed.
Finally, the movie: amazing. I'm just so hugely, hugely impressed - which is ironic, because when we found out that Les Mis was coming out, we'd joked that we'd have to see it back to back with The Hobbit, so that when it deeply disappointed us (as seemed inevitable), we could cushion the blow by immediately seeing the Hobbit, which would be amazing (as also seemed inevitable). Well, both movies ended up blowing our expectations to pieces - we LOVED Les Mis and could have left The Hobbit.
I'm not gonna do a full blow-by-blow analysis here (lol), but I will address some of the concerns we'd had before going:
- The film is mostly the stage musical filmed. They stick almost exactly to the plot, and don't deviate much. For us, this was a huge plus!
- 99% of the actors can sing. Nobody sang poorly enough to detract from the experience (as happens in, say, the Phantom Of The Opera movie). While some of the singers lack a certain "oomph" to their performance, again, it was never enough to make me cringe. If they I was especially impressed by Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe! :)
- The gritty scenes in Les Mis - the prostitution, defiling of Fantine, etc - were handled with a lot of grace. Nothing explicit is ever seen, but none of the true horror of what is going on it sacrificed. It's a tough balance, and they nailed it.