Let me start this off by saying that I don’t cry. I generally don’t cry when sad things happen, or over love lost or stubbing my toe or being pissed off. I’ve never been much of a crier. There were a few tears at the end of My Girl and A Walk to Remember, and during most movies where an innocent person dies of cancer, or when a pet dies in a movie. Other than that, I really don’t cry in movies.
That said, this movie made me cry for two reasons. 1) Relatability, and 2) Romantic Tragedy (and not in a relationship romantic way, I mean like romantic as in just love and beauty in general). That also said, I didn’t cry at the same parts as the people around me, and for a fairly obvious reason, I think. I am pretty used to things not going my way, honestly, and so I don’t find many things “tearjerking”. I don’t mean for this to sound cocky but I just mean that certain things don’t phase me outwardly. The subtle things made me cry. Also, I’ll post my full, spoiler-filled opinion at the end of this after photos so I don’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.
The acting was great, and I thought the singing was amazing as well; better than I could ever do. The cinematography and the costumes and setting were all gorgeous. Most people know this but they actually sung everything live. The music wasn’t dubbed like usual. The vocal performances you here were done live right in front of the camera, and many are in one take as well (they didn’t stop the camera in the middle).
I went into this thinking I would hate it. That honestly might be the best way to do it because I really did enjoy it. It’s an epic production to say the least. I saw Oscar noms everywhere. Anne Hathaway for sure, maybe Hugh Jackman, Samantha Barks for Best Supporting. Best Musical is a given, probably Best Costumes, Best Score. It’s gonna sweep the Oscars this year.
One bit of warning though. The film is basically on steroids. Everything is turned to one hundred and eighty percent effort and garishness. I went into the film as a strong independent black woman who don’t need no man, and I came out of it with all of my emotions flushed out and swirled around into a big fat uncertain mess. They took a musical, and filmed it. That was the problem. They seemed to have forgotten that it was film, and still done it like theater, where one hundred and eighty percent is required to communicate your message to the audience. Initially, my response was exactly what they manipulated out of me, an emotional stew of revelation, elation, and despair. Looking back, I appreciate it, but it all makes me feel a little uncomfortable.
Definitely go see it if you don’t think you’ll like it, you might be pleasantly surprised.
PS: Really I’m just bitter because I relate too much to Eponine. Here’s a great reaction photo from when we left the theater: