Les MisÚrables 4.5/5: first off, after having seen this on the biggest screen in the UK, I am suffering from severe screen envy. We don't have anything that comes remotely close. I never realised I wanted to see every burst blood vessel in the actors' eyes before...
The very brave decision to have the actors sing live really paid off in my opinion, even though in some scenes you knew the take used wasn't an early one because they looked and sounded exhausted - which fits the theme though.
I knew that Hugh Jackman could sing but had his limitations and was hoping he could manage to compensate what he might lack vocally performance-wise and he did.
I was worried about Russel Crowe and unfortunately proven right. He was fine acting-wise and his rather stoic Javert helped me with accepting his equally stoic singing, but there was one line in 'Stars' where I almost started to laugh because they weren't even able to save it in post-production and I just had this mental image of the audio engineers' faces when they got to that part.
Biggest negative surprise: Sacha Baron Cohen. The Tenardiers are supposed to be a comic relief, but he wasn't the least bit funny and a bit sharp vocally. I felt he left Helena Bonham Carter out to dry while she was doing her best.
Biggest positive surprise: this old dragon almost shed a tear during 'Empty Chairs and Empty Tables'. Well done Mr. Redmayne, you almost got me there.
Casting Colm Wilkinson as the bishop was a nice nod to the fans of the musical. The guy sitting next to me actually started to cry when he first appeared on screen (he went downhill from there to the point where I was worried about his health; he was a blubbering, hiccuping mess by 'I Dreamed a Dream').
Overall, it's a beautiful movie that manages to stay true to the musical so many people love while not sticking slavishly to it (changed lyrics, songs being moved around in the story).