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Old 01-05-2013, 11:00 AM   #271
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OK, here are two questions I've wanted to ask, but kept forgetting:

1. When Valjean is first paroled, at the beginning of the film, he is shown climbing up a desolate hill toward a graveyard. Is that the grave of his sister and her child? Did they starve after he was thrown in jail?

2. Why did they cut the "Dog Eats Dog" number that Thenardier sings in the sewers?
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:04 AM   #272
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I was curious about that mountain too.


They cut a lot from the movie. I think part of it had to do with time.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:18 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by zoemurr View Post
I love the play and know I will focus on the "non-Broadway" caliber singing. I can't decide if I want to see it or not. The storyline is amazing, but the delivery of such talented people on stage really brings it home. I keep hearing how amazing Eponine is and that she has played on Broadway. Does anyone know why they didn't stick to all stage performers? This would have really sealed the deal for me..
I completely understand. We are going today, and I'm so torn! I'm just not sure if I can go. Les Mis is my favorite of all stage productions ever. (I'm the OP of this thread, by the way.) I don't know if I can watch it with an open mind. I have two hours to decide if I want to do this or not. I was so looking forward to this, but I'm not happy with the casting, at all. I "understand" the need to bring "big stars" to draw non theatre people, but I don't agree with it. And Russell Crowe? Really???? Sigh......I don't know what to do.


On the upside, though, this was posted on Broadway World:

http://broadwayworld.com/article/Cam...-2014-20121228

I had planned on a trip to NYC this spring, but I think it may be pushed a little longer now.
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:02 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by Deb in IA View Post
OK, here are two questions I've wanted to ask, but kept forgetting:

1. When Valjean is first paroled, at the beginning of the film, he is shown climbing up a desolate hill toward a graveyard. Is that the grave of his sister and her child? Did they starve after he was thrown in jail?

2. Why did they cut the "Dog Eats Dog" number that Thenardier sings in the sewers?
They pulled a lot of details from the book that weren't in the musical version. If the graveyard has any significance, it may have been explained in the book. I just figured it was for added for atmosphere so he wasn't walking up a boring mountain.

For people who are asking why they didn't cast stage actors, it's all about money! How many average movie goers who know nothing about the show would see a moving staring Alfie Boe, Andrew Varela, Kelly Ground, Michael Ball, Samantha Barks and Ramin Karimloo? I would love to see this cast do the movie! They've all performed the roles on stage to great reviews. However, movie goers don't know who the heck they are! They did cast Samantha Barks as the one theater actor in a major role, and she did an awesome job! Those of us who know and love the musical would see it no matter who was cast. In order to attract other viewers, they cast "movie names." That said, I do think that Hugh Jackman was great as Valjean. Ann Hathaway was amazing. The Thenardiers were fine, but kind of forgettable. Samantha Barks was awesome, as I knew she would be. Eddie Redmayne? OK, but I've seen better versions of Marius. Aaron Tviet was fine as Enjorlas, but I wanted a deeper and more commanding voice since he is the leader of the rebellion. Russell Crowe? No thanks. If anyone wants to see an really awesome Javert, look up a YouTube video of Andrew Varela performing the role. That guy seriously rocks it!
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:33 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by Deb in IA View Post
OK, here are two questions I've wanted to ask, but kept forgetting:

1. When Valjean is first paroled, at the beginning of the film, he is shown climbing up a desolate hill toward a graveyard. Is that the grave of his sister and her child? Did they starve after he was thrown in jail?
I wondered that too and figured it must have been his sis's family. Hope someone can provide an answer.

I saw this Thursday w/DD18. I have never liked musicals (gasp!) but this was the first show DD was in as a freshman in HS. I have only seen a HS version so I have nothing substantial to compare. That said, I thought the movie was amazing. I knew it was sad but DD asked if I had brought tissues. Wow, we both cried during several parts. One day, I would love to see the stage show but for someone with no experience, the movie was well done.

We would have seen it even if it was all "unknown" no big name actors because we went for the story, not the people in it. That is the same for others I know who've seen it so it's too bad more Broadway actors weren't cast.
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Old 01-05-2013, 03:49 PM   #276
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Details I remember from the book included Fantine selling her teeth and the scene in the convent when Valjean and Cosette are escaping from Javert. I don't remember the graveyard. But it's been awhile since I read the book.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:52 PM   #277
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I've seen the stage version several times, the 10th and 25th Anniv. concerts more times than I can count, and listened to the original Broadway cast recording so much over the years that I wore out the tape out (yes, back from the days of tapes...). Just trying to say that the music is in my soul, and I acknowledge that there is no way the movie cast can truly compete as a whole with that caliber of singing (except for a few performers, e.g. Sam Barks). That said...

I have never seen it ACTED this well. Even though Hugh Jackman's singing annoyed me, his face in the soliloquy at the line "beneath the lash, upon the rack" was like a punch in the gut. It was the first time I really felt his anguish and what those 19 years meant. Same thing with "I Dreamed a Dream" (and I liked the placement after Lovely Ladies - makes more sense). Throughout the movie I found myself getting emotional at very different places than I normally do.

If anyone's hesitant, just go with an open mind recognizing that it's an entirely different treatment. About the point that I mentioned in the Soliloquy is when I said to myself "OK, the singing's passable but not outstanding - it is what it is". Once I kind of got myself into that mindset, I loved it in an entirely different way than I thought I would.

Separately-

According to the book, Valjean's last knowledge of his sister was that she was in Paris with his youngest nephew. He never heard about what ultimately became of the two of them or the rest of her children.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:54 PM   #278
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I've seen the stage version several times, the 10th and 25th Anniv. concerts more times than I can count, and listened to the original Broadway cast recording so much over the years that I wore out the tape out (yes, back from the days of tapes...). Just trying to say that the music is in my soul, and I acknowledge that there is no way the movie cast can truly compete as a whole with that caliber of singing (except for a few performers, e.g. Sam Barks). That said...

I have never seen it ACTED this well. Even though Hugh Jackman's singing annoyed me, his face in the soliloquy at the line "beneath the lash, upon the rack" was like a punch in the gut. It was the first time I really felt his anguish and what those 19 years meant. Same thing with "I Dreamed a Dream" (and I liked the placement after Lovely Ladies - makes more sense). Throughout the movie I found myself getting emotional at very different places than I normally do.

If anyone's hesitant, just go with an open mind recognizing that it's an entirely different treatment. About the point that I mentioned in the Soliloquy is when I said to myself "OK, the singing's passable but not outstanding - it is what it is". Once I kind of got myself into that mindset, I loved it in an entirely different way than I thought I would.

Separately-

According to the book, Valjean's last knowledge of his sister was that she was in Paris with his youngest nephew. He never heard about what ultimately became of the two of them or the rest of her children.
Thanks, and yes, I agree completely with your assessment.

It is NOT the stage version. It is a different presentation, a different medium.

I think, for the most part, the stage actors focus mainly on the singing. Not that they are not good actors also - see the above comments on the current touring Javert, Andrew Varela - but in general, the stage performers are singers, and they concentrate on diction, projection, pitch, etc.

Now, the movie performers are also decent singers, but they focus more on the acting, the emotion. So, while the songs may not be as "pretty" as Anne Hathaway says, they have a different effect, because you are seeing them sung literally right in your face, instead of 100 yards away in an auditorium.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:25 PM   #279
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Okay, we are back. I have a long review to post. I will first say that I'm glad I decided to go. I will agree with the previous poster that I found myself more emotionally involved in scenes that, with the stage version, had never touched me that much. Overall, I did enjoy the movie, and it moved me just as much, if not more in some places, as the stage version. However, the musical will always hold first place in my heart, not the movie.

The makeup, costuming, scenic design, and special effects were incredible! The camera work, not so much. I didn't like the "in you face" jumping around stuff at all. In fact, there were moments that some of the quick movements even triggered my vertigo a bit.


I realized that I see this as two parts to one movie. In fact, in my head I saw it as Act One and Act Two. I much preferred Act Two! For the first part of the movie I kept feeling as though I were watching a really good movie but no t Les Mis. I wasn't connecting with the characters as I normally do. I will also say that Anne Hathaway is the exception to this. I loved her portrayal of Fantine. It was different, yes, but I liked it. The jury is still out on how I feel about "I Dreamed a Dream." I like the placement of the song, and I really liked the second half, but not so much on the first part. I thought the scene where Valjean finds Fantine and takes her to the hospital was beautiful. Fantine's death was heartbreaking, as it always is.

Now, to the individuals:
Hugh Jackman: His acting was INCREDIBLE! I will say that at the beginning I had a little trouble connecting with him, but very shortly in I was totally buying his acting as Valjean. I don't understand some of his singing choices, though. The man has a decent voice. He didn't need to sing-song as much as he did in Act One. By the time we hit what would have been Act Two, I thought his singing was stronger, though. All in all, the casting on this was really good.

Anne Hathaway: Excellent....period. She has to win awards for this portrayal.

Eddie Redmayne: Wow! I really, really liked him. Is he Michael Ball? No, but I thought he was very good. "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" broke my heart. It was beautiful!

Aaron Tveit: Hmmm....he was good but not as good as Eddie. I've seen more powerful actors in this role, so I'm just going to go with okay on this one. I will say that that I like the way they filmed his ending. It reminded me a lot of the original turning barricade scene.

Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter: Well, I LOVE the Thenardiers, so this was a difficult one for me. I actually liked SBC. He was certainly a different Thenardier, but he grew on me. HBC: didn't like this one at all. If I had ever been a performer and not a techie, Madame Thenardier would have been one of my dream roles (as would Fantine and Eponine), so I guess I'm difficult to please on this one.

Samantha Barks: Wow, wow, wow!! This casting was right on the dot! She is amazing as Eponine. "On My Own" had me sobbing. Really, really beautiful.

For me, the movie didn't become Les Mis until the ensemble commanded the screen. I know some haven't liked the filming of "One Day More," but I liked it and thought it worked. "Lovely Ladies" was very gritty but effective. "Master of the House" ehh....it was okay, but I like the stage version better. Once we got to "Red and Black" it really became Les Mis for me. Yes, that's because it was ensemble driven and that ensemble is filled with stage actors and singers. From that moment on, the beauty and the emotional connection started and I was hooked. I like the added moments that give more background to the story. I think that was a smart move for movie goers that might not know the full story as much as others. I noticed some lines added, changed, and deleted. It wasn't enough to make a difference, though, and most of it I thought were good changes. The ensemble ROCKED!! Whoa, really, really great!!

Amanda Seyfried: I'm not normally a fan of Cosette, but I liked her. She actually gave Cosette some "meat," and I liked that. Her last scene with Valjean was lovely.

Now, that brings me to Mr. Crowe. Horrible just horrible. WTH was with that casting? Yes, yes, I know about mainstream America and non theatre people, but for heaven's sake, couldn't they have found ANYONE else? For me, Les Mis has always been about the struggle between good and evil with Valjean vs Javert. With Russell Crowe's dismal portrayal that was lost. His Javert was just flat and unemotional and the "singing"....shudders! I truly think that Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway would have been enough to draw in the audiences. Javert could have been cast with a stage actor, or at least someone who could have done a better job. For the first time ever (for me) Les Mis became about the story between Valjean and Cosette and Cosette and Marius. That was different for me, and I miss the dynamic between Valjean and Javert. My favorite of all scenes, The Confrontation, was just ruined.

Colm: The one and only Valjean for me, ever. His moments as the Bishop just made my $8 ticket worth it. There will never be another Colm Wilkinson...ever.

My favorite part of the entire movie was from the wedding to the end. It was fabulous. It was just different enough to keep me interested but maintained all the emotion and beauty of the original stage version.

Am I glad I went? Absolutely! Will we buy the DVD? Ehhh...jury's out on that, probably yes, but I'll have to plug my ears during when Russell Crowe opens his mouth. Heck, who am I kidding? I have to have those Colm moments forever on DVD. What made this movie? The ensemble of stage actors and singers and Hugh Jackman.

Whew....that was a lot, but I started this thread over two years ago, so I had a lot to say!
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:48 PM   #280
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I love your review, ugadog99. I'm glad you went after all. I agree with a lot of your review. Of course, especially about Hugh Jackman's singing and not being able to connect because of it. I too loved the rest of the ensemble and they made the show for me.

I do agree with Deb in IA. It's taken some time to sink in & sift through, but it really is a very different show & experience. Sometimes I wished the 25th Anniversary production just had a touch more acting. Even without the sets, if they turned & acted to each other a touch more, it would have made that whole production complete for me, and I guess I was hoping for this movie to be THAT and it's not.

This movie does have other merits though. And if anything, it has made me appreciate going to see Les Mis when it comes back to Broadway again. I wish they'd stop taking it off Broadway. If they hadn't have had that year or so off, they'd actually be in the running with Phantom as the two longest running Broadway shows of all time.

But, I will see it again pretty much right after it opens or in previews, when the cast is fresh & new again. That's one thing that can be said for bringing the show back. When a show runs for a long time, they tend to recycle through actors and sometimes the performances aren't as fresh and the acting isn't first caliber anymore. (The better actors have already done the show and are staring in more recent hit shows.)


We still have not watched my friend's SAG DVD screening of Les Mis. She's still kind of on "movie burn out" and I don't think she's seen anything over a half hour sitcom since having see all those movies back to back. Probably when we finally do see it, I will be ready to watch the film with fresh eyes, as I know what to expect & what not to now.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:57 AM   #281
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2. Why did they cut the "Dog Eats Dog" number that Thenardier sings in the sewers?
The song was definitely there at some point. I have a friend who had some info on screenings of a rough cut in the UK earlier this fall that ran about 20 minutes longer than the final version. There was also a different ending that involved the end of the 1848 rebellion. From what I've read from people who saw that ending, they were glad it was changed back to the version we know.

There was an interview with Tom Hooper recently where he mentioned that "Dog Eat Dog" might be back on the DVD. I think it was just cut for time.

I'll be happy when they release a complete soundtrack. The version that's out now is missing half the songs! It's driving me crazy.

I saw the movie for the third time today. We brought my aunt, who did a pretty good impression of that mom in the video of the guy who filmed his parents reaction to the movie. By the end, she'd literally filled an empty popcorn bag with all of the tissues she'd gone through.

Actually, the best crier in our audience today was this guy who, in the midst of all of this sniffling and sobbing in the theater, blew his nose so loud it sounded like a foghorn. People started laughing, it was hysterical.

I really love the movie. I love that it's so different from the stage version. I've seen the stage version so many times and I know it so well, that this felt like it was still something new, and it was great.

And I loved Hugh. I've seen him sing live on Broadway 7 times. He sang that part exactly like I know he sings. And I love how sings, so it's all good.

And I freaking loved his Bring Him Home. I loved it the first time I saw it, it made me cry the second time I saw it, and I loved it again when I saw it today.

It didn't matter to me what high notes he did or didn't hit, because watching him walk through the rooms almost in a panic trying sort out what Valjean was thinking during that song, it was the first time I realized that "Bring Him Home" wasn't just about him praying to God to take him instead of Marius, it was the moment Valjean finally understood that he had to let Cosette go.

Like with so many things about the movie, it just brought more depth to things than the stage version (which I love) can do. It was so good.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:37 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by Deb in IA View Post
OK, here are two questions I've wanted to ask, but kept forgetting:

1. When Valjean is first paroled, at the beginning of the film, he is shown climbing up a desolate hill toward a graveyard. Is that the grave of his sister and her child? Did they starve after he was thrown in jail?

2. Why did they cut the "Dog Eats Dog" number that Thenardier sings in the sewers?
1-I don't remember any reference in the book.

2- Because that song is awful and I would have been livid if they kept it in while hacking verses out of all my favourites.

I LOVED it. Truly loved it. I was so nervous, after waiting so long, that it wouldn't meet my far-too-high expectations. But it was wonderful.

Anne Hathaway is a goddess. I though she was just incredible, and while I've always been moved by her part of the story, I've never felt her desperate love for her child the way I did watching her last night. I loved that she totally went for (and nailed) the crescendo in I Dreamed a Dream. Since I'd been watching clips and knew so many other songs were done differently than 'normal', I didn't dare expect anything in that regard.

Hugh Jackman....wow. His voice wasn't perfect, but the emotion with which he played that role completely made up for it in my book. Again, I've never been so struck by Valjean's completely adoration for Cosette. Whoever did his makeup deserves an Oscar. He was absolutely transformed many times over.

Amanda Seyfried's warbly voice wasn't my favourite. Totally just my opinion, but I associate that type of singing with someone who was taught how to hit notes vs someone who can actually sing. I felt the same about Eddie Redmayne, though I loved his part. Trained, not talented. The both reminded me of Lawrence Welk singers. That said, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables was gorgeous and I think they both did incredible jobs in their roles.

Now, Russell Crowe. Oh, Russell. Honestly, his singing wasn't nearly as awful as I was expecting. I can totally see how people thought his acting was flat, and I wouldn't completely disagree. I think he was just trying to play it as very hard and intense, and if he'd shown more anguish during Javert's Suicide I would have been able to forgive the rest. As is I don't think he was horrible at all, but he definitely seemed like the one who was most uncomfortable with stretching his comfort zone. The medal on Gavroche? Oof. Killed me.


Biggest surprise: I wasn't blown away by Samantha Barks. (What the heck was up with her teeny tiny waist??) I was that overly dramatic child who sang On My Own over and over in the mirror, and I was really looking forward to it. But I felt like the song was rushed and her acting was flat. I wasn't hugely fond of her in the 25th anniversary either, though I'm not denying her talent at all. Little Fall of Rain (another favourite) didn't thrill me the way I'd hoped.

(Speaking of the 25th Anniversary show, after Empty Chairs my husband turned to me and said "oh man, that was so much better than the Jonas Brother!" )

The Thénardiers! I thought they were GREAT! I loved SBC, though his constantly changing accent left me baffled. HBC was in her prime, I think. Really enjoyed them both, and laughed every time he got Cosette's name wrong. Beggers at the Feast really made me laugh, even truncated.

Young Cosette and Gavroche were incredible. I loved them both. Not to harp on the 25th Anniversary version too much, but that Gavroche drove me insane. He played it like the Artful Dodger, cocky instead of scrappy. This kid was great, and I adored his into in Look Down. His death, as it always does, sent me into the ugly cry.

Colm Wilkinson was just sublime. Every second on screen, every word from his mouth, was beautiful. When he met Valjean at the end I just sobbed.

My biggest complaint: the shortening of so many songs!! Full verses taken out of Come to Me, Castle on a Cloud, no I Saw Him Once, etc. OH! And the fact that Eponine's part was taken out of Valjean's Death. I didn't actually need Eponine there, but I loved the harmony of the three voices. It gave me goosebumps, and I missed that a lot.

All in all, 4 stars out of 5. There was definitely room for improvement, and I'm praying that when it comes out on DVD they'll have a 4 hour version with every bit of every song. My husband hadn't been too keen on seeing it with me, but he was talking about it the whole way home. And then he said "when we get the DVD, I want to check out a few things", which made me laugh. I love that it's just a given that we'll be getting the DVD, and I'm hoping it will be out by my birthday in July.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:54 PM   #283
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We saw the movie yesterday so I thought I'd join in! I have read the book (like 15 years ago) and seen the play 4 times. I went with my husband (who saw the play once) my 14 year old son (who has read the book, never seen a performance) and my 12 year old son who had no previous exposure to Les Mis whatsoever. So we had a variety of expectations and opinions!

The only thing that made me hesitant to see this movie was the fear of making a fool of myself by crying in the theatre. I did cry, but I felt far from out of place, lol.

I am so glad we went! It was what I expected from Les Mis, big, emotional, powerful, touching, moving and inspiring! I really loved it.

Had no problems with the casting, its as though those roles can stand by themselves anyway no matter who is playing them!

From the opening image of that boat, to the closing image of the barricades, wow.

My husband and children could not stop talking about it afterwards and want the soundtrack...the boys were shocked that they liked it so much. They weren't huge on the romance but they did like the Valjean / Javert storyline, and they liked Enjolras and the students. They both said when Fantine showed up at the end it took all they had to hold their composure, lol.

It even inspired singing later when they were playing billiards...although their lyrics need some work, the tune was right on. I was hearing stuff like "RED...the ball you cannot sink! BLACK...your mood when you will lose!" ha ha

We are going to see it again next weekend. And I have thrown out the hint that the DVD would make an excellent birthday gift.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:18 PM   #284
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OH! And the fact that Eponine's part was taken out of Valjean's Death. I didn't actually need Eponine there, but I loved the harmony of the three voices. It gave me goosebumps, and I missed that a lot.
It bothered me that Eponine wasn't in Valjean's death scene as well. However, I thought about the fact that the movie never showed any connection between them. Gavroche took the note from Marius to Valjean, whereas Eponine takes it in the play. It's a brief encounter but at least they had a scene together. The reason I like seeing Eponine in that final scene is because of her strong connection to Marius. She walks out peacefully, no longer longing for Marius. After Valjean dies, he stands between Fantine and Eponine, and behind Marius and Cosette who are on the floor. The three hold their hands above the couples' heads, as if blessing their marriage from heaven. It's a really beautiful moment in the show, and I missed seeing it in the movie. I do like that the Bishop was there to greet Valjean. They added that part in for the 25th anniversary tour. We assume the Bishop died long before since he's quite a bit older than Valjean. He greets him and gives him a nod, as if saying he's pleased with how he turned his life around after stealing the silver. I love all of these subtle little moments, some of which were portrayed nicely in the movie, and some of which were not.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:33 PM   #285
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luv Bunnies View Post
The reason I like seeing Eponine in that final scene is because of her strong connection to Marius. She walks out peacefully, no longer longing for Marius. After Valjean dies, he stands between Fantine and Eponine, and behind Marius and Cosette who are on the floor. The three hold their hands above the couples' heads, as if blessing their marriage from heaven. It's a really beautiful moment in the show, and I missed seeing it in the movie.
I agree totally on this. I preferred the stage ending.
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