I’ve seen “Les Miserables” on stage at least a dozen times. I have, I think, four different versions of the show on CD, including the original French cast recording.
I think it is important to understand that up front because I’m intimately familiar with the show. That kind of deep knowledge of the source material can be a detriment when approaching a new adaptation.
I’ve seen the film Les Miserables twice now. Once I saw it in a friend’s living room and now I’ve seen it on the big screen. The big screen improved the film quite a bit but I still came away frustrated. I badly want to love the movie but I don’t. I love some moments from the movie. I love some performances from the movie. Too much of the movie, however, held me at arm’s length.
Rather than picking at each issue like a scab (yes- Russell Crowe completely failed to give Javert any kind of edge), I’ll focus on one part of the film, it’s difference with the play, and why that change was senseless and foolish.
Of course, the part I’m going to focus on is the very end of the film so it is only fair for me to say there will be spoilers about both the film and the play. You have been warned.