I guess won’t go see Django Unchained. That people are tomatoes I already know; I don’t need to see them split and splattered again and again, even in those revenge scenes that Tarantino says are meant to leave audiences cheering. I haven’t seen some of the other movies either, Argo and Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Master. I have a lot of work to do before Oscars night.
I did see Lincoln and need to see it again for what feels like the total accuracy of the portrayal. Daniel Day Lewis and the cinematic magic tricks folks got that extra set of knees into him that you always sensed he had. That tall crooked shamble, ah! I watched all 234 minutes of Lincoln and was sure the man himself had been conjured up before me. And Mary Todd Lincoln as portrayed by Sally Field! For the first time you sense the pathos of her position, her beloved Will lost to the typhoid likely carried down the Potomac from the camps where the runoff from the dead and dismembered fouled the waters. More than once her grieving husband ordered the small coffin of his child exhumed and opened, so that he might gaze again upon his face. (That was a privilege few families had once the slaughter began and there was a government with no Board of Registration for the dead, not even the 19th century equivalent of dog tags, much less an organized method of burial.)
Finally, I did see Les Miserables and saw it with such high hopes for hadn’t I loved the play so much? Hadn’t I taken seven ABC students in November of ’87, the minute it opened, before the press night even? Hadn’t I gone back with my own three children young as they were and seen it twice more?
I loved Ann Hathaway as Fantine. I loved Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. I loved the way the downtrodden looked so ill and blistered as I’m sure they must have looked. It’s just that it’s TOO MUCH like the play. I say if you’re going to make a movie, make a movie. Let that hulking Russell Crowe just act; don’t put him up on all those rooftops and make him moo like a wounded steer.
And as for Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, with her cinched waist, all I could think of was one of those rubber dolls you squeeze and its eyes pop out.
Only it also sings.