The Curt Critic featured in the Wisconsin State Journal

The Curt Critic in the news: This recent Wisconsin State Journal article is validation that Liz Zélandais' quest to see all 53 Oscar-nominated films for 2013 is a fascinating enterprise worthy of public interest, rather than merely nuts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Les Misérables - 2013 Oscar Nominee for Best 1) Picture, 2) Leading Actor, 3) Supporting Actress, 4) Production Design, 5) Sound Effects, 6) Original Song, 7) Costume Design, 8) Make-up & Hairstyling,

Yes it's big—but is it beautiful?

Let's get this out of the way immediately:   if you loathe opera or cannot stand musicals in which all dialogue is sung, don't waste your time and money. You'll hate it. Otherwise, proceed.

When I lived in New York, I went to the Broadway production of Les Miz and endured 40 minutes of vicarious misery as the dirty and starvingbut vocally talented masses sang their ravaged hearts out. Flipping through the playbill, it gave no promise of this sad lot's future improving. I was an emotional coward. I left.

In the intervening years, I have gained emotional strength (and the fore-knowledge of an uplifting last act) and saw the film through to the end. True to the complaints of some, it is larger than life and over the top. Well, duh. Of course it is! It's about romance, revolution, and redemption. Are those subjects you want covered in tiny, subdued subtext? I think not. 

It is gorgeous. (Hugh Jackmanalthough marvelous in the role of Jean Valjeanalas for the first time ever, is not.) It is stirring. It is even hilarious when Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter bring their sleazy characters to life. The music will send you scurrying to iTunes, and the musical finale will thunder through your head for days to come. (Could be worse—e.g., "It's a Small World".) Go big or go home. Go Les Miz!

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