I loved it. I was more than a little apprehensive about a few aspects of it, namely Russell Crowe and some of the reviews it was getting, but I found Crowe quite acceptable and the movie as a whole just gorgeous. Plus, the live singing made it a thousand time better than it ever would have been otherwise. Brilliant decision there, and one that I am very thankful for. Like Jean Gringoire, I LOVED all the Brick details that rarely if ever make it into the stage show. It managed to be a wonderfully accurate musical adaptation that was also pleasingly book-flavored. Color me impressed.
I really liked the casting. Hugh Jackman might not quite have the voice for "Bring Him Home," but to be fair, not many people do ("this song is hiiiigh, much too hiiiigh...pity meee, bring dooown the keeey..." Who wrote that parody again? It was hilarious) and I though he was a pretty awesome Valjean. He's also a good physical match. You really get the "strong as an ox" vibe off of him.
Crowe has more vocal potential than I expected--there were just a few stylistic objections I had, things I would have changed if I had been his vocal coach. He tends to add melodious inflections and energy-drops at the end of lines, which isn't particularly Javert-y, but generally I liked him. For one, like Jackman, I just thought he was an awesome physical match. I was pretty pissed about the lack of mutton chops at first, but then his general appearance and bearing won me over in the end. I approve and don't think he deserves a lot of the harsh criticism he's getting.
Anne Hathaway--holy cow. Give that woman an Oscar. "I Dreamed A Dream" had never made me cry before, but her rendition did both times I've seen it. SO much emotion; despair, rage, shame. I absolutely and wholeheartedly loved her.
I thought the Thenardiers were wonderful. Baron-Cohen has such great comic timing. Little Cosette and little Gavroche were perfect.
Eddie Redmayne is a wonderful and likable Marius, and his "Empty Chairs" was gorgeous and powerful. Aaron Tveit is an awesome Enjolras with a sort of quiet, smoldering ferocity. I was fond of the students as a whole. I liked Seyfried and Barks as Cosette and Éponine, although I admit I was slightly distracted by Bark's odd shape. (Was that just the costume? If so, what were they trying to achieve there?)
The ensemble was great, and the staging of ensemble scenes was also excellent--The shots of all the beggars and workers in "One Day More," the placement of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" actually IN the funeral procession.
To be honest I don't have much of an opinion on "Suddenly." My only gripes are the inexplicable lyrical cuts/changes. Screwed up rhyme schemes, random dialogue, switched words...but it's a small, if baffling, price to pay for an awesome film adaptation. Besides, some of the additions were great--I agree with zergrussian that Gavroche's new lines were perfect.
One random tiny thing I loved was actually touched on in Auf Die Barrikaden's post: Hadley Fraser's cameo as the army officer. Such gorgeous, nuanced acting in a minor part that could easily have just been phoned in was AWESOME to see. The haunted look in his eyes...
The sets (Grossest. Inn. Ever.), direction, and cinematography were wonderful. I just...loved it. I think they did a wonderful thing justice, and I am both thrilled and relieved. I will come back and respond specifically to other people's points and comments more as soon as I am not typing on an iPhone.
"Would you like my hat?"
Awesome icon by Hannah.