Showing posts with label Les Miserables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Les Miserables. Show all posts

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Les Misérables - rapturous applause from the audience

I’ve been longing to see the movie of Les Misérables since last spring, when I unexpectedly stumbled on to the film set during a visit to Greenwich. With filming due to take place the following day, I couldn’t quite work out how the giant stone elephant and extraordinary pile of old wood, furniture and rubbish the crew had built next to the Old Royal Naval College would look in the movie.

Well now I know – because the film is out in the UK and I foolishly went to see it with my husband at the weekend. I say foolishly because a) I can’t think of a single film we’ve both liked (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Lincoln) and b) he hates musicals.  But he sweetly went along with my Les Mis plan – and apart from the moment when he whispered a bit too loudly “Oh God, he’s not going to snuff it, is he?” didn’t complain too much. 

So what was our verdict? You won’t be surprised to hear that my husband loathed it. As for me, I thought parts of it were stunning, but at 157 minutes it is way too long and I’m sorry, but the Old Royal Naval College does not look like 19th century Paris.

The best bits of the film, I reckoned, were Anne Hathaway's touching I Dreamed a Dream, the comic pairing of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the evil innkeeper and his wife (their performances veer slightly towards panto, but are very funny), Samantha Barks as Eponine (she gives a wonderful performance of On My Own) and child actor Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche (who steals every scene he appears in).

The Tom Hooper-directed film has won three Golden Globes - and been nominated for nine BAFTAs and eight Oscars, including Best Picture Award, Best Actor (Hugh Jackman) and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway). Some critics have given it ecstatic, five-star reviews, although others have been less enamoured. But on Saturday night in Oxford the audience (apart from my husband) clapped wildly at the end.  I’ve never seen that happen at the cinema before.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

London 2012 - and a day out in Greenwich

With London 2012 less than 100 days away now, there’s a real buzz in the capital. After the Orange Prize shortlist breakfast on Tuesday I hared across east London to spend the day with my student daughter in Greenwich. When we hopped off the Docklands Light Railway train the very first thing we spotted was the newly restored Cutty Sark, which reopens next week after a £50 million transformation. The 143-year-old tea clipper, due to be unveiled by the Queen on April 25, has been lifted 11 feet off the ground and looks utterly breathtaking.

Then we walked through the rain-soaked streets to the Old Naval College and suddenly stumbled on an extraordinary scene.  Piled up behind a giant stone elephant was a massive and incongruous mound of old wood, furniture and sundry rubbish. It looked like an art installation by an up and coming Brit Artist but it turned out that we were in the middle of a  film set. When I asked a grumpy man in a fluorescent jacket he told me they were filming a scene from Les Miserables the following day.

Next it was on to Greenwich Park, where even more preparations were taking place. Not for a film this time, but for the London 2012 equestrian events. An area of the park, right next to the elegant stone façade of the National Maritime Museum, is being transformed into the arena where the show jumping and dressage events will be staged. Talk about a showstopper of a location. You can see Canary Wharf to the north and the historic Royal Observatory to the south. But then again, the 200 Olympic riders will probably have other things to concentrate on than the stupendous views.

Like thousands of others I applied for countless tickets for London 2012 (I really wanted to take my bike mad son to a cycling event) and got precisely none. So up until this week I felt distinctly underwhelmed about the Olympics. But after spending the day in east London and seeing the amazing transformation taking place, I’ve changed my mind. It’s exciting all right…

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