After much anticipation, this cinematic masterpiece was finally released with heralding reviews and a following that likens to that of Pride and The Prejudice. While the film was spectacular and the acting was astounding, it is the vocals that makes this musical a must see. All of the music was recorded real time instead of being prerecorded and layered over lip syncing footage. This genuine and raw method is too often lost in modern musicals like Glee and High School Musical. Granted, some actors were stretched beyond their boundaries and pushed to a pale in comparison to the mastery of others. But ultimately it came together beautifully leaving the audience speechless and in a flurry of tears and applause. If you have an attention span that will outlast the two and a half hour collection of perfect moments then this is the ticket you should buy. However, if its music you seek, the soundtrack is second to none. Here are the highs and lows.
Anne Hathaway is easily one of my least favorite actresses in Hollywood. Her performances in Get Smart, Princess Diaries 2-3, and Alice in Wonderland were laughable, yet she blew me away as Fontaine. After selling her hair and in turn her body she sings a ballad of phenomenal loss making the whole audience cry. Not only was her voice spectacular, but her entire song was filmed in a single take where she mustered up enough tears to sink a ship. Not only did her voice portray a believable level of brokenness but she managed to bring the observers to a point of empathy.
Hugh Jackman proved once again that not only can he act but he can sing. While he carries the whole plot on his shoulders and performs songs for every occasion, he also is the one person we are begged to connect with most of all. Honestly, I think he did a great job but I didn’t feel like he brought anything special to the film. He filled the role that was asked of him and nothing more, yet I am open to a discussion. He sang beautifully but it was nothing to take your breath away. His voice is really good but it does not convey the emotions required to move an audience.
Russell Crowe cannot sing, this film merely proved that already evident fact. I applaud him for attempting such a feet but this was not the right venue for his experimentation. His acting was competent but in a film where every single line is a song, you must be able to sing. As he plummeted to his demise all I could do was celebrate the fact the fact that my ear drums would be once again at peace.
Amanda Seyfried shocked me. Momma Mia was a lovely film that mimicked the play and managed to fill the cinema with a light hearted laughter. However, she had not proved her musical abilities until this film. I was shocked to find that she had such an amazing voice! Her acting has always been average (minus her performance in Mean Girls) but musical theatre seems to bring out the very best in her.
Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen brought life and joy to one of the most depressing stories in the history of theatre. Carter, plays the psychotic role she always chooses and shifts the melancholy picture into something that humorous and merry. Yes she was playing the very role she played in Sweeney Todd, but she did it beautifully. Cohen was the perfect Clyde to her Bonnie as the two of them robbed the rich blind while singing joyfully out of tune. However, there musical shortcomings were clearly a choice that lead to a realness and believable disconnect from reality. It’s a shame I couldn’t find a clip of their performance.
At the end of the day the music was incredible. The film was long and some would say it was even tireless but the soundtrack is a must have for those rainy days.